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Title: Within the Capes
Author: Pyle, Howard
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Transcriber's Note: Bold text is surrounded by =equal signs= and italic
text is surrounded by _underscores_.]



Within the Capes

    By
    HOWARD PYLE

    New York
    International Association of Newspapers and Authors
    1901



    COPYRIGHT, 1885,
    BY CHARLES SCRIBNER’S SONS.


    NORTH RIVER BINDERY CO.
    PRINTERS AND BINDERS
    NEW YORK



        TO HIS FRIEND

     ALFRED LEIGHTON HOWE

    THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED

             BY

        THE AUTHOR



WITHIN THE CAPES.



CHAPTER I.


CERTAIN members of Captain Tom Granger’s family have asked him, time
and time again, why he did not sit down and write an account of those
things which happened to him during a certain period of his life.

These happenings, all agree, are of a nature such as rarely fall to the
lot of any man, crowding, as they did, one upon the heels of another,
so that in two years’ time more happened to Tom Granger than happens to
most men in a lifetime.

But Captain Granger has always shaken his head, and has answered that
he was no writer and that a pen never did fit nicely betwixt his stiff
fingers, as Mrs. Granger can tell them if they will ask her.

Beside this, he has hitherto had his affairs to look after, so that he
may be able to leave behind him enough of the world’s goods to help his
children and his children’s children easily along the road that he
himself found not over smooth.

Now, however, he has given up much of his business to the care of his
sons, who are mostly men well on in years, with families of their own,
and who are discreet in the management of things. Therefore, having
much more leisure time upon his hands than he has ever had in his life
before, he will undertake to do as he has been asked, and to write a
plain, straightforward story of his adventures. This he does with much
diffidence, for, as I have said, he is no very good hand with the pen
and the ink-horn. The story may be told in a rough way; nevertheless, I
believe that many of those that read it will think well of it, having a
certain tenderness for the writer thereof.

I am furthermore inclined to thus take upon myself the transcribing of
the history of these things, because that Captain Tom Granger is coming
fast to the ending of his life; and, though his latter days may be
warm and sunny, like a late Indian summer, there are those yet to come
in a few years who will not have the chance to hear of these things
from his own lips. Therefore, as there has been much gossip about
certain adventures that befell him, I would rather that they should
learn of them under mine own hand than from hearsay. Truly, things get
monstrously twisted in passing from mouth to mouth, and by the time
that the story of these doings has passed down through three or four
generations, the old gentleman might be turned into a pirate and a
murderer, for all that I know, which would be a pretty state of affairs.

I do not know how it was that Tom Granger got the title of captain, for
the highest grade that he ever reached was that of second mate of the
Privateersman _Nancy Hazlewood_. However, as no one in Eastcaster ever
had held so high a grade of the like nature up to that time, I suppose
that the wonder really is that he was not called commodore, or even
admiral.

Any one in Eastcaster can tell you where he lives; it is the large
white house, with the porch in front, that stands well back from the
road under the shadow of three broad maple trees. It is just across
the way from the Hicksite Meeting-house. You can easily tell it as you
go along the street, because there is a ship in full sail chiseled in
relief on the stone gate-post, which is very well done indeed, and was
carved by William Johnson, the stone-cutter, under mine own direction
and supervision.

I will say here, that Captain Granger will be always glad to see you
if, at any time, you should chance to come to Eastcaster. If he is not
at home, you will be likely to find him playing chequers or backgammon
at the Black Horse Tavern, just around the corner of Market street, and
nearly opposite to the court-house.

However, that is neither here nor there, and I find that I am wandering
from the point. But you must excuse and overlook that, bearing in mind
that it is the way of an old man, who has done a great deal of talking
in his day. I thank goodness that I am old enough now to know better
than to gossip and talk as much as I used to do, and am rather silent
than otherwise.

Nevertheless, I promise now that I will heave ahead with my yarn,
though it may be that I will leave some things untold that you would
like to hear, being, as I said, no great talker, in which case you must
come to Eastcaster, and then I will tell you anything that you may want
to know.

I will not enter into a long yarn concerning what happened in Tom
Granger’s life before the year 1812, for though such a yarn would hold
within it many concerns of interest, it is not for the sake of relating
them that I have thus taken my pen betwixt my fingers. It was late in
the spring of that year (1812) when he returned home after a three
years’ cruise to the East Indies.

I think that there is no joy in all the world like that of getting home
again after a long voyage, such as this had been. I do not know but
that it repays one for all the sorrow and pain of leave-taking, and
for the home-sickness that follows thereon. Even such changes as have
happened betwixt the going and returning do not seem amiss, provided
that they have not brought grief and trouble with them.

The changes that had occurred since Tom’s departure in the summer
of 1809 had brought no sadness with them. When he had gone away,
he had left his sisters, Susan and Mary, as young girls; the former
sixteen and the latter fifteen years old. They had now grown into a
pair of fine young women and were chits no longer. This was the first
and greatest change that struck Tom, so you may see how little had
happened. The folks were already beginning to tease Susan about Will
Gaines, who had just returned from Philadelphia, where he had been
studying law, and had set up an office for himself in Eastcaster.

The next day was Sunday, or First-day, as we call it in Quaker
neighborhoods, and as all of the family were going to meeting, Tom put
on his best toggery to go with them.

It was a beautiful, bright clear day, and as Tom stood on the porch
waiting for Henry, who was to go with him, his heart swelled within
him with the love of home. It seemed sweet to him to look on the young
leaves of the trees, the green meadowlands and the richness of growing
wheat, after seeing nothing for months but a wide stretch of troubled
waters; it was good to feel the balmy blowing of a breeze that was not
salt; to hear the singing of the robin and the chattering of the wren;
the crowing of the cocks and the lowing of the cattle, and not to have
in his ears the everlasting washing and gurgling of the water alongside.

The folks use to ride to meeting on horseback in the old times, the
women behind the men on pillion saddles. But Tom was a sailor, and
consequently no good figure on horseback, so he and Henry, the
youngest, set off ahead of the rest to foot it, for the homestead farm
was only a mile and a half from Eastcaster meeting.

The meeting-house looked very pleasant where it stood, back from the
street under the shadow of the two great elms in front of it. The old
meeting-house was standing then, for they did not tear it down to make
room for the new building until ’32. The present building is larger
than the old one was, and is, no doubt, lighter and better, and more
comfortable in many ways; but for all that, I have never liked it as
well as the old black and red brick meeting-house, with its high roof
running up to a point from all four corners and topped with something
that looked like a belfry, though it had no bell in it, of course.

In the old days, as now, when the weather was warm and bright and
pleasant, the men used to stand for a while around the door of their
side of the meeting, talking and chatting together before they went
into the building. Such a group was standing on the grass under the
shadow of the elm trees as Tom and his brother Henry came up the steps
that led into the meeting-house yard.

Tom knew all of them, and they came forward and shook hands with him
and welcomed him heartily. Will Gaines was amongst them, for, though he
was not a member of the Society of Friends, he went to meeting as often
as he went anywhere else. It might have been that he came on Susan’s
account, though I do not say that he did.

He was the first to recognize Tom, and he came forward and shook hands
with him and seemed very glad to see him. A young man usually is glad
to see the brother of the young woman that he wants to marry, but I
think that Will really was pleased to see Tom, for he and Tom had been
dear friends from the time that they were children together. There were
other young men of Tom’s age amongst the group: John Black, Joseph
Sparks, Henry Jackson and others. They too came forward and shook hands
with him and seemed glad to see him, though not so glad as Will Gaines
had been.

Two men were standing by the open door of the meeting-house, talking
earnestly together. One of them was Isaac Naylor, and the other was Mr.
Edmund Moor, the real estate agent. As these two men had very much to
do with Tom’s life at a later time, it may be well that I should give
you a notion of them now.

Isaac Naylor was a young man—not over thirty at that time, I should
think. He dressed very plainly, and was so serious of deportment that I
do not know that any one ever saw him smile. He never jested himself,
and never enjoyed a jest, for he was too practical for such trivial
things. It was as though the man of him had been dried into parchment
by his continued self-repression. He was well off in the world, for his
father had died the year before, and, as Isaac was the only son, he
had inherited all the property, which was very large. Although such a
young man, he was high in the meeting, sitting in the gallery with men
old enough, in some cases, to be his grandfather.

Mr. Moor was not a member of meeting, though he attended pretty
regularly. He was a large, fleshy man, not exactly fat, but full
looking. He had a smooth, goodly face and straight iron-grey hair,
brushed straight back from his forehead and behind his ears. I never
heard him say an unkind word or saw him in anything but a cordial mood.
He was always full of jests and quaint turns of speech, and never
failed to shake Tom heartily by the hand whenever he met him; yet for
all that Tom did not like him. He had an oily, unctuous way, that was
not pleasing to him; he was always so goodly that he did not seem
sincere, and always so cordial that it did not seem as though he meant
his cordiality.

Such were the two men that were talking together by the meeting-house
door, and each welcomed him in his own manner.

“How is thee, Thomas?” said Isaac, dryly.

“Why! It’s Thomas Granger! Bless my soul! Back again like a bad penny,
eh?” said Mr. Moor, and he shook Tom by the hand with great warmth.

In the meantime, Tom’s father and his two brothers, John and William,
came over from the horse shed, where they had been hitching their
horses, and joined the group, and then they all went into the
meeting-house together, taking their seats on the hard wooden benches
within.

That morning they held a silent meeting, no one speaking for all the
hour between ten and eleven o’clock. Now and then the wind would rush
in little puffs through the open window and across the gloom of the
building. A fly buzzed against a window pane, and once a robin outside
burst into a sudden gush of song.

No other sound broke the silence, saving for the rustling of a dress,
as one of the women Friends would move in her seat, or the restless
sighing of some poor boy in the back part of the building. The
overseers sat ranged along on the raised bench facing the meeting, and
amongst them was Isaac Naylor. All of them sat with their hats on,
motionless, with downcast eyes, buried in serious thought: but no one
spoke.

At such a time every one is supposed to address a sermon to his own
heart, but I am very much afraid that Tom Granger addressed none to
himself, for his thoughts flew here and there and everywhere, and his
mind was never still a moment in the chase of them. Now and then he
shifted himself uneasily on the hard wooden bench, trying to find a
more comfortable position than the one in which he was sitting, but the
seats in Friends’ meeting were not made with a thought to comfort in
those days. There was a long partition that ran down the length of the
meeting, separating the men’s from the women’s side.

After a while Tom’s eyes wandered over this partition in a way that
they had no business to do. It was toward the place where his mother
and his sisters sat that his eyes rested the most, but it was not at
them that he was looking, for Patty Penrose sat between his mother and
him.

After a man has reached the age of four and twenty, it becomes a
continued source of wonder to him how the little girls about him grow
up into young women. You leave a poor lean little chit of a thing; a
few years pass, you meet her and, lo! she is transmogrified into a
young woman, going her sedate way with very different thoughts in her
head than when you saw her last. It seems as though it were only a
week or two since you patted her upon the head and said kind things to
encourage her; now your heart shrinks at the thought of such boldness,
and you feel that she needs encouragement no longer.

When Tom had last seen Patty Penrose, three years before, he left
her just such a little chit as I have spoken to you of,—lean and not
graceful. She used to come over now and then to play with his sister
Mary, but he had not noticed her excepting when she stayed to dinner
or to supper. Even then he had not observed her very closely, and had
not had much to say to her, for she was too shy to make it a pleasure
to him to talk to her, and too young for it to be worth while for him
to put himself out to amuse her. He would give her a nod with a “How is
thee, Patty?” and then would turn his mind to other things.

Now, when he first looked at her sitting across the meeting beside
his mother, he did not know her; then he saw first one little thing
and then another, until it slowly dawned upon him that it was Patty
Penrose, though not the Patty Penrose that he had known in times past.
At first he looked with wonder and interest at the change that had come
in three years; but, after a while, his interest took a very different
shape with no wonder about it, and he thought that his sister Mary’s
friend was a great deal better worth looking at than when he had last
seen her, for Patty had grown into a very pretty girl,—a very pretty
girl, indeed.

She sat looking calmly before her; but, though she seemed sedately
unaware of his presence, as is becoming in a modest girl, I have not a
grain of doubt that she knew that Tom Granger was at meeting that day,
and, maybe, she even knew that he was looking at her at that moment.

Her head was uncovered, for she had worn a broad beaver hat, such as
they used in those days, and she held the hat in her lap. She sat with
her side turned to Tom, and it made his heart feel very warm as he
looked at her pale, delicate face, the long lashes of her eyes, the
smooth roundness of her chin and throat, and the soft curling of the
brown hair at her forehead and temples. So, as I said, he was preaching
no sermon to himself as he sat in silent meeting that day.

At length, the court-house clock around the corner of Market street
struck eleven. They all sat in silence for a minute or two longer, and
then old Thomas Winterapple shook John Stidham by the hand, and meeting
was broken. After that they all went out into the sunlight and the open
air again.

Will Gaines went over to where the young women were standing talking
together, and said a few words to Susan, and Tom followed after him.

Patty was standing beside his mother.

“Thomas, this is Patty Penrose,” said she, turning to him; “don’t thee
remember Patty?”

Tom knew that the color was rising in his face; knowing it, he felt
very uncomfortable, and that made his cheeks burn all the hotter. It
was a different matter talking to Patty now from what it had been three
years ago. Oh, yes, he remembered Patty; “How is thee, Patty?” said he,
holding out his hand to her. Her little fingers rested in his only for
a moment, and then were quickly withdrawn.

“I’m pretty well, thank thee, Thomas,” said she.

Then there was a space of silence, during which Tom was thinking of
something to say. This was no easy thing for him to do on the spur of
the moment, considering how little he knew of Patty and her ways. He
stood with his hands clasped behind him, looking at her and waiting for
a thought, and she stood looking down at the toe of her shoe. Presently
she raised her eyes to his face for a moment.

“Has thee just come back, Thomas?” said she.

“Yes; I came back yesterday afternoon.”

“Thee’s been gone a long while this time, hasn’t thee?”

“About three years.”

And then they were silent again.

Just then Isaac Naylor came up and spoke to Patty, and she turned
partly away from Tom to answer him. It seemed to Tom that it was a
relief to her to talk to some one else beside him, and no doubt it was,
for she must have felt easier with Isaac than she did with Tom, knowing
him so much better. After this, several of the young men came up, and
in a little while Patty and his sister were quite surrounded by them,
and were presently talking and laughing at a great rate, about people
and things of which Tom knew little or nothing. Isaac Naylor stood
amongst the other young men; he did not talk to Patty and Mary as they
did, but he seemed contented to remain where he was.

At last Tom’s brother Henry plucked him by the sleeve of his coat, “Is
thee ready to go now, Thomas?” said he. “Father and mother have gone
and I’m ready to go if thee is.” Henry was too young yet to talk to the
girls with any ease, and so the waiting was no pleasure to him.

“Yes; I guess I’m about ready,” said Tom. He felt that he had been
awkward and ungainly before Patty, and he would have liked to say a
word or two more to her before he left her to set himself straight in
her opinion. But he saw no chance for this in all the talk and laughter
that was going on around Mary and her, so there was nothing left for
him to do but to go.

As Henry and he walked along the turn-pike road, numbers of Friends
passed them on their way homeward from meeting.

There was a clatter of hoofs behind them, and old Elihu Penrose came
riding by with Patty back of him on the pillion saddle.

“Woah!” cried he, reigning in his horse when he had come up to Tom and
Henry. “How is thee, Thomas? I’m glad to see thee back again.”

“I’m glad to get back again,” said Tom.

“That’s right! I like to hear a young man say he’s glad to get back
home again,—it sounds well. Come over and see us some time.”

“I will,” said Tom; “I’d like to come over very much.”

“Very well; do. Come over soon. Farewell.”

Then he clicked to the horse and rode on, turning down the road that
led through the shady woods to the old mill.

“Patty Penrose’s a mighty pretty girl; ain’t she, Thomas?” said Henry.

Tom made no answer, and they walked on in silence.

At dinner time, Patty was brought up as a subject of talk.

“Don’t thee think she’s very pretty, Thomas?” said Susan.

“Well—I don’t know,” said Tom, hesitatingly; “n—not so very.” I do not
know why he should have answered as he did, but, somehow, he did not
feel like saying that he thought Patty was pretty.

“Well, I can’t help thinking as thee does about it, Thomas,” said Mary;
“I love Patty Penrose very dearly, but, I must say, I never could see
her beauty.”

“She’s the prettiest girl in the neighborhood,” said William.

“I know some people think she’s pretty,” said Mary, “but, I must say,
I don’t see where her beauty lies. Her nose isn’t good, and she has
hardly a bit of color in her face. She’s a dear good girl, but I don’t
think she’s what one would call handsome.”

“Thee isn’t of the same way of thinking as the young men,” said John.
“There isn’t one within ten miles of Eastcaster who doesn’t think that
she’s the prettiest girl in the township. There isn’t a girl in the
neighborhood who has as much company as she.”

“Nonsense,” said Susan; “what does thee know about it, John? Leave out
Isaac Naylor and John Black and the two Sharpleys and she doesn’t have
any more company than other people.”

“All right,” said John, who had an ill way of holding to an opinion and
never arguing about it, “all right, have thy own way; it doesn’t make
any difference to me; I only know what I hear the young men say about
her.”

Then Tom’s father broke into the talk and nothing more was said about
Patty. “I bought a new short-horn bull last fall, Thomas,” said he.
“We’ll go over to the cattle-yard after dinner and take a look at it,
if thee likes.”

So presently they all got up from their chairs, and the men-folks went
over to the barn-yard to take a look at the short-horn bull.

But the talk at the dinner table had not pleased Tom, though I do not
know why he should have disliked to have heard that Patty had a great
deal of attention paid her; for how could it make any difference to
him?



CHAPTER II.


AS time wore along, Tom got into the habit of dropping in at Penrose’s
and of spending an evening now and then. At first he would find himself
there once in every ten days or two weeks; in time his visits became
more and more frequent. Elihu was always very glad to see him and Patty
herself seemed pleased at his coming. I think that some of the happiest
evenings of his life were those spent in sitting on the porch of the
old mill-house in the long summer twilights—Elihu and he smoking their
pipes, he telling his adventures at sea and Patty sitting listening
to him. Often some one of the young men of the neighborhood would be
at the house, and then it was not so pleasant for Tom; his talk would
cease, and after a little while, perhaps, he would arise and bid them
farewell. Patty and her visitor would usually sit apart talking and
laughing together, and it would strike Tom how much more easy she
seemed in the company of others than she did with him. More than once
when he called he found that she had gone out riding with one of these
young men, and then he and Elihu would spend the evening together, and
the old man would seem quite contented, for neither Patty nor he seemed
to think that Tom’s visits were meant for any one else than him.

One First-day evening Tom mustered up courage to ask Patty to take a
walk with him. That evening is impressed upon his mind even yet, for he
was very happy. There was a dim glow in the sky to the westward, and
the road stretched away grey and glimmering between the blackness of
the banks and bushes alongside of it. So, walking slowly and talking
but little, they came to the bridge just below Whiteley’s barn, and
there they stood leaning on the parapet, looking up the stream into the
black woods beyond, from which came the many murmuring whispers of the
summer’s night. All the air was laden with the spicy odor of the night
woods, and through the silence the sound of the rushing and gurgling of
the water of the brook came to them clearly and distinctly. There was
a bit of marshy land beyond, over which flew fireflies in thousands,
here gleaming a brilliant spark and there leaving a long trail of light
against the black woodlands behind. For some time they both leaned upon
the bridge without saying a word; it was Patty that broke the silence
at last.

“Does thee know, Thomas,” said she, “that when thee first came home I
was dreadfully afraid of thee? Thee seemed to me to be so much older
than I was, and then thee’d seen so much on thy travels.”

“Thee ain’t afraid of me now, is thee, Patty?”

“No, indeed; it seems as though thee might almost be a cousin of mine,
I know thee so well. It does father so much good to see thee; he’s
never been the same since mother died till now.”

There was a moment or two before Tom spoke.

“Perhaps it isn’t thy father I come to see, Patty,” said he, in a low
voice. He leaned over the edge of the bridge as he spoke and looked
fixedly into the dark rushing water beneath.

Patty made no answer, and Tom was not sure that she heard him. Neither
of them said another word until Patty said, in a low voice, “I guess
we’d better go home now, Thomas.”

Then they turned and walked back again to the old mill. Tom opened the
gate for Patty. “Farewell, Patty,” said he.

“Won’t thee come up and see father, Thomas?” said she.

“Not to-night.”

“Farewell, then.”

Tom watched her until she had gone up the porch steps and was hidden by
the vines that were clustered about it. He heard Elihu say, “Where’s
Thomas?” but he did not hear Patty’s answer; then he turned and walked
slowly homeward.

The summer passed, the fall passed, the winter passed, and the spring
time had come again.

Tom’s walk with Patty seemed to have broken through the smoothness of
the acquaintance betwixt the three.

Elihu had never been the same to him since that night; he had never
been as cordial or as friendly as he had been before.

Sometimes it seemed to Tom as though Patty herself was growing tired of
seeing so much of him. At such times he would vow within himself as he
walked homeward that he would never call there again, and yet he always
went back after a while.

So things moved along without that pleasant friendliness in their
acquaintanceship until that occurred which altered the face of
everything.

One First-day afternoon, Tom found himself standing on the porch of the
mill-house. It was in the early part of April, but the day was very
mild and soft, and Elihu and Patty were sitting on the porch.

“How is thee, Thomas?” said Elihu. He did not take the pipe from his
lips as he spoke, neither did he ask the other to be seated. Tom stood
leaning against the post and no one spoke for a while.

“Isn’t it a lovely day?” said Patty.

“Yes, it is,” said Tom; “would thee like to take a walk up the road as
far as Whiteley’s?”

“Yes, I would,” said Patty; “I haven’t been away from the house all
day.”

“It’s very damp; it’s too damp to walk,” said Elihu; “besides, thee’s
got thy thin shoes on.”

“But we’ll walk in the road, father; I’ll promise not to go off of
the road. I’ll put on heavier shoes if thee thinks that these are too
thin.”

“Very well, do as thee pleases,” said Elihu, sharply; “I think it’s too
damp, but I suppose thee’ll do as thee chooses.” Then he knocked the
ashes out of his pipe and went into the house without another word,
shutting the door carefully behind him.

“I don’t know why he doesn’t want me to go,” said Patty; “it’s a lovely
day for a walk. Wait till I go in and speak to him, maybe he’ll change
his mind;” and she followed her father into the house.

“I can’t bear this any longer;” said Tom to himself. “I’ll have it over
this afternoon, or I’ll never come here again. I’ll ask her to be my
wife, and if the worst comes to the worst I’ll ship for another cruise.”

Presently Patty came out of the house again. She had thrown a scarf
over her shoulders. “Is thee ready to go, Thomas?” said she.

“Yes; I’m ready.”

There was very little talk between them as they walked on side by side,
for Tom’s heart was too full of that which was upon his mind to say
much with his lips; so they went down the road into the hollow, past
the old mill, over the bridge that crossed Stony Brook just beyond,
up the hill on the other side, past Whiteley’s farm-house, and so
to the further crest of the hill that overlooked Rocky Creek Valley
beyond. There they stopped and stood beside the fence at the roadside,
looking down into the valley beneath them. It was a fair sight that lay
spread out before their eyes—field beyond field, farm-house, barn and
orchard, all bathed in the soft yellow sunshine, saving here and there
where a cloud cast a purple shadow that moved slowly across the hills
and down into the valleys.

“Isn’t it beautiful?” said Patty, as she leaned against the rough
fence, looking out across the valley, while the wind stirred the hair
at her cheeks and temples.

“Yes; it is;” said Tom, “it’s a goodly world to live in, Patty.”

Then silence fell between them.

“There’s the old Naylor homestead,” said Patty at last.

“Yes; I see it,” said Tom, shortly, glancing as he spoke in the
direction which she pointed. Then, after a while, he continued, “What a
queer man Isaac Naylor is!”

“I don’t see anything queer about him,” said Patty, looking down at the
toe of her shoe.

“Well, I never saw a man like him.”

“He is a very good worthy man, and everybody respects him,” said Patty,
warmly.

“Oh! I don’t deny that,” said Tom, with a pang at his heart.

“Thee couldn’t truthfully deny it if thee would, Thomas,” said Patty.

“I’m only a rough sea-faring man,” said Tom. “I don’t know that any one
respects me very much.” He waited a moment, but Patty said nothing;
then he went on again:

“For all that, I’d rather be a man of thirty at thirty, and not as dead
to all things as though I was a man of eighty. Isaac Naylor is more
like a man of eighty than he is like one of thirty. No one would take
him to be only five years older than I am.”

“I don’t know any man that I respect as much as I do Isaac Naylor,”
said Patty. “I don’t like to hear thee talk against him as thee does.
He has never spoken ill of thee.”

“Thee need never be afraid of my saying anything more against him,”
said Tom, bitterly; “I see that thee likes him more than I thought thee
did. I might have known it too, from the way that he has been visiting
thee during this last month or two.”

“Why shouldn’t he visit me, Thomas?”

“The Lord knows!”

She made no answer to this, and presently Tom spoke again.

“I’m going off to sea before long, Patty,” said he, for it seemed to
him just then that the sea was a fit place for him to be. Patty made no
answer to this; she was picking busily at the fringe of the scarf that
hung about her shoulders.

“How soon is thee going, Thomas?” said she at last.

“Oh! I don’t know; in three or four weeks, I guess. It doesn’t matter,
does it?”

Patty made no reply.

Tom was leaning on the fence, looking out across the valley, but seeing
nothing. His mind was in a whirl, for he was saying unto himself,
“Now is the time, be a man, speak your heart boldly, for this is the
opportunity!”

Twice he tried to bring himself to speak, and twice his heart failed
him. The third time that he strove, he broke the silence.

“Patty,” said he. His heart was beating thickly, but there was no
turning back now, for the first word had been spoken.

Patty must have had an inkling of what was in Tom’s mind, for her bosom
was rising and falling quickly.

“Patty,” said Tom again.

“What is it, Thomas?” said she, in a trembling voice, and without
raising her head.

Tom was picking nervously at the rough bark upon the fence-rail near to
him, but he was looking at Patty.

“Thee knows why I have been coming to see thee all this time, doesn’t
thee, Patty?”

“No,” whispered Patty.

“Thee doesn’t know?”

“No.”

It seemed to Tom as though the beating of his heart would smother him:
“Because,—because I love thee, Patty,” said he.

Patty’s head sunk lower and lower, but she neither moved nor spoke.

Then Tom said again, “I love thee, Patty.”

He waited for a while and then he said: “Won’t thee speak to me,
Patty?”

“What does thee want me to say?” whispered she.

“Does thee love me?”

Silence.

“Does thee love me?”

Tom was standing very close to her as he spoke; when she answered it
was hardly above her breath, but low as the whisper was he caught it—

“Yes.”

Ah me! those days have gone by now, and I am an old man of four score
years and more, but even yet my old heart thrills at the remembrance
of this that I here write. Manifold troubles and griefs have fallen
upon me betwixt then and now; yet, I can say, when one speaks to me of
the weariness of this world and of the emptiness of things within it,
“Surely, life is a pleasant thing, when it holds such joys in store for
us as this,—the bliss of loving and of being loved.”

Half an hour afterward, Tom was walking down the road toward the old
mill-house, and in his hand he held the hand of his darling—his first
love—and life was very beautiful to him.



CHAPTER III.


NOW, although the good people of Eastcaster were very glad to welcome
Tom Granger home again whenever he returned from a cruise, at the same
time they looked upon him with a certain wariness, or shyness, for they
could not but feel that he was not quite one of themselves.

Now-a-days one sees all kinds of strange people; the railroad brings
them,—young men who sell dry-goods, books and what not. They have
traveled all over the country and have, or think that they have, a
world more of knowledge about things in general than other people who
are old enough to be their father’s father. Such an one I saw this
morning, who beat me three games of chequers, which, I own, did vex
me; though any one might have done the same, for I was thinking of
other things at the time, and my mind was not fixed upon the run of
the game. One sees plenty of such people now-a-days, I say, but in the
old times it was different, and few strangers came to Eastcaster, so
that but little was known of the outside world. The good people liked
well enough to hear Tom tell of the many out-of-the-way things that
had happened to him during his knocking about in the world; at the same
time there was always a feeling amongst them that he was different from
themselves. Tom knew that they felt this way, and it made him more
shy of going amongst his father’s neighbors than he would otherwise
have been. Nothing makes a man withdraw within himself as much as
the thought that those about him neither understand him nor care to
understand him. So it came about that Elihu Penrose was not very much
pleased with that which had passed between Tom Granger and his daughter.

As Tom and Patty walked home hand in hand, hardly a word was said
betwixt them. When they came to the gate in front of the mill-house
they saw that Elihu was not on the porch.

“I’ll go in and speak to thy father now, Patty,” said Tom.

“Oh, Tom! Will it have to be so soon?” said Patty, in a half-frightened
voice.

“The sooner spoken, the sooner over,” said Tom, somewhat grimly, for
the task was not a pleasant one to do, as those who have passed through
the same can tell if they choose.

So Tom went into the house, and Patty sat down on a chair on the porch
to wait for his coming out again.

Tom looked in through the half-open door of the dining-room and
saw Elihu sitting in his cushioned rocking-chair in front of the
smouldering fire, rocking and smoking the while.

“May I come in?” said Tom, standing uncertainly at the door.

“Yes; come in,” said Elihu, without moving.

“I have something to tell thee,” said Tom.

“Sit down,” said Elihu.

Tom would rather have stood up, for he felt easier upon his feet;
nevertheless, he sat down as he was bidden, leaning his elbows on his
knees and gazing into the crown of his hat, which he held in his hand
and turned about this way and that.

Old Elihu Penrose’s eyebrows were bushy and thick, and, like his hair,
were as white as though he had been in the mill of time, and a part of
the flour had fallen upon him. When he was arguing upon religion or
politics, and was about to ask some keen question that was likely to
trip up the wits of the one with whom he was talking, he had a way of
drawing these thick eyebrows together, until he had hidden all of his
eyes but the grey twinkle within them. Though Tom did not raise his
head, he felt that the old man drew his eyebrows together just in this
manner, as he looked upon him where he sat.

Not a word was spoken for some time, and the only sounds that broke the
stillness of the room was the regular “creak, creak” of the rocker of
the chair on which Elihu sat, and the sharp and deliberate “tick, tack”
of the tall, old eight-day clock in the entry.

Old Elihu broke the silence; he blew a thin thread of smoke toward the
chimney, and then he said: “What is it thee wants to say to me Thomas?”
And yet, I have a notion that he knew very well what it was that Tom
was going to tell him.

Then Tom looked up and gazed straight into the grey twinkle of Elihu’s
eyes, hidden beneath their overhanging brows. “I—I love thy daughter,”
said he, “and she’s promised to be my wife.”

Elihu looked at Tom as though he would bore him through and through
with the keenness of his gaze, and Tom looked steadfastly back again at
him. He felt that Elihu was trying to look him down, and he drew upon
all of his strength of spirit not to let his eyes waver for a moment.
At last Elihu arose from his chair and knocked the ashes out his pipe
into the fire-place.

Then Tom stood up too, for he was not going to give the other the
advantage that a standing man has in a talk over one that is seated.

“Thomas,” began Elihu, breaking the silence again, and he thrust his
hand into his breeches pocket, and began rattling the coppers therein.

“Well?” said Tom.

“I take it thee’s a reasonable man;—at least, thee ought to be, after
all the knocking around that thee’s done.”

This did not sound very promising for the talk that was to come. “I
hope I’m a reasonable man,” said Tom.

“Then I’ll speak to thee plainly, and without any beating about the
bush;—I’m sorry to hear of this, and I wish that it might have been
otherwise.”

“Why?”

“I should think that thee might know why, without putting me to the
pains of telling thee. We’re a plain folk hereabouts, and the son’s
followed in his father’s steps for a hundred and fifty years and more.
I suppose that it’s an old-fashioned way that we have, but I like it.
I’d rather that my daughter had chosen a man that had been contented
with the ways of his father, and one that I had seen grow up under my
eye, and that I might know that I could rely upon. I’ve seen little or
nothing of thee, since thee ran away to sea, ten or twelve years ago.”

“I don’t see why that should weigh against me.”

“Don’t thee?”

“No. My trade isn’t farming, to be sure, but such as it is, I work
steadily at it. I’m sober; I don’t drink, and I trust that I’m no worse
than most men of my age.”

“That may all be true; I know nothing of thy habits, but this I do
know,—that thee ran away from home once; what surety have I that thee
won’t do it again?” Tom made a motion as though to interrupt him, but
Elihu held up his hand; “I know! I know!” said he; “thee don’t feel,
just now, as though such a thing could happen; but my observation has
led me to find that what a man will do once, he may do again. Besides
all this, thy trade must unsettle thy life more or less; thee knows
the old saying,—‘a rolling stone gathers no moss.’”

“I don’t know why a man should want to stay long enough in one place to
get moss-grown,” said Tom.

“That is all very well,” said Elihu Penrose, “but we hereabouts have
been content to grow green in the same place that our fathers grew
green before us. So, I tell thee plainly, I wish that Patty had chosen
some one that I know better than I do thee. Of course, I shan’t bridle
her choice, but I wish that it had been Isaac Naylor. I believe that
she would have chosen him if thee hadn’t come home amongst us.”

There was a time of silence between them in which both were sunk deeply
in thought; then Tom spoke very bitterly: “I see thee don’t like me.”

“Thee’s wrong to say that, Thomas,” said Elihu; “I have no dislike for
thee at all.”

“It looks very much as though thee had.”

“I don’t see that at all. I want to see my daughter well settled in the
world,—that’s all.”

“I should think that thy daughter’s happiness would weigh more with
thee than anything else.”

“It does,” said Elihu, somewhat sternly, “and I hope that I shall know
what is best for her happiness without being taught by any man, young
or old.”

“I had no thought to teach thee.”

Silence followed this, till, after a while, Elihu spoke again.
“However,” said he, “all this is neither here nor there; Patty’s chosen
thee from amongst the rest, and she must lie upon the bed that she’s
made for herself, for I don’t see that I can justly interfere. I can
only make myself sure that thee is able to support a wife, before thee
marries her. How much does thee make a year?”

“About five hundred for pay. Maybe I could make a couple of hundred
more in the way of trade here and there, if I keep my wits about me.”

“Does thy trade bring thee in forty dollars a month now?”

“About that.”

Elihu, sunk in thought, looked at Tom for a while, without speaking.
Tom stood looking at his finger-tips, very unhappy and troubled in his
mind. After a while the absent look left Elihu’s eyes, and he spoke
again.

“Thomas,” said he, “I have no wish to be hard on thee, or any man in
the world. It’s not thee, but thy trade, that don’t please me. If thee
was living quietly at home, like thy brothers John and William, I’d be
glad to give my daughter to thy father’s son, for he and I have been
old friends, and have known each other since we were boys together.
However, I’m not prepared to say that thee shall not marry Patty, so
I’ll make a proposition to thee. If thee’ll show me seven hundred and
fifty dollars of thy own earning at the end of a year’s time, I am
willing that thee shall have her. Is that fair?”

“Yes; I suppose it is,” said Tom.

“Very well. Show me seven hundred and fifty dollars at the end of a
year’s time from to-day, and I’ll give thee leave to marry Patty.
Farewell.”

“May I see Patty now?”

“I reckon so. There’s no reason that thee shouldn’t see her that I know
of.”

Then Tom left the room. He found Patty sitting on the porch when he
went out. He was feeling very bitter, for his talk with Elihu had not
been of the pleasantest kind. It seemed to have taken much of the joy
out of his new happiness, for the grudging words of Elihu’s consent had
stung his pride very sharply. Therefore there was a smack of bitterness
in his joy that spoilt the savor of the whole. He sat down by Patty
without a word, and began rubbing his palm slowly over the end of the
arm of the chair on which he was sitting, looking down at it moodily
the while. It was both weak and selfish in him to give way to such
feelings at such a time, but love is a subtle joy that only one false
chord will jar the whole out of tune, and, for the time, there will be
discord in the heart.

Patty sat looking at him, as though waiting for him to speak.

“Thy father don’t seem much pleased with this, Patty,” said he, at last.

“Never mind, Tom,” said Patty, and her little hand slid over and rested
softly upon his own; “he’ll like it when he is more used to the thought
of it. Father’s queer, and sometimes harsh in his ways, but his heart
is all right. No one could be more kind and loving than he is to me.
When he finds how dear thee is to me, he’ll like thee for my sake, if
for nothing else. After a while he will be as proud of thee as though
thee were his own son.”

“I hope that he will like me better, as time goes on,” said Tom, but
the tone of his voice said, “I don’t believe he will.”

“Yes; his liking will come all in good time, Tom;” then, very softly,
“Isn’t thee happy, Tom?”

“Yes; I’m happy,” said Tom, but in truth, his words belied his thoughts
a little, and his voice, I think, must have somewhat belied his words.

“Tom,” said Patty, and he looked up. She looked bravely and lovingly
into his eyes; “I am very happy,” said she, in a low voice.

“God bless thee, Patty!” said Tom, in a voice that trembled a little;
“thee’s a good girl,—too good a girl for me. I’m afraid I’m not worthy
of thee.”

“I’m satisfied,” said Patty, quietly. “Tell me; what did father say to
thee, Thomas?”

Then Tom told all that had passed, and the telling of it seemed to
blow away the dark clouds of his moodiness; for, as he talked, it did
not seem to him that the old man’s words had been as bitter as he had
felt them to be at the time. After all, he had said nothing but what he
should have said, considering that it behooved him to see his daughter
well settled in the world.

“Thee _can_ earn seven hundred and fifty dollars in a year’s time,
can’t thee, Thomas?”

“I hope so.”

“Then it’ll only be waiting a year, and that isn’t a long time, Tom, is
it? Thee’ll find me just the same when thee comes back again.” Patty
talked very bravely;—I believe that she talked more bravely than she
felt, for her eyes were bright with tears, beneath the lids.

“It’s pretty hard to have to leave thee so soon,” said Tom. “I’ll have
to leave thee soon if I’m to earn all that money in a year’s time.”

Both were sunk in thought for a while. “How long will it be before thee
starts, Tom?” said Patty, presently.

“Not longer than a week, I guess.”

Patty looked at him long and earnestly, and then the tears brimmed
in her eyes. Poor girl! What happiness it would have been to her,
if she could have had Tom with her for a while, while their joy was
still fresh and new. The sight of her tears melted away all the little
bitterness that was still in Tom’s heart; he drew her to him, and she
hid her face in his breast and cried. As he held her silently, in
his arms, it seemed to him that their love had not brought them much
happiness, so far.

After a while, she stopped crying, but she still lay with her face on
his shoulder.

As Tom walked home that afternoon, he met Isaac Naylor coming down the
mill-road from the turnpike. He knew that Isaac was going straight to
Penrose’s house.

“How is thee, Thomas?” said he, as they passed one another.

Tom stared at him, but said never a word. He turned and looked after
Isaac as the Friend walked briskly down the road that led through the
woods to the mill.

“Never mind, friend Isaac,” said he, half-aloud, “the father may like
thee better than he does me, but the daughter’s mine.” A thrill darted
through his heart as he said this, for it made him realize that she was
indeed his, and his alone. It was the last time that he saw Isaac for a
year and a half.

Tom went straight to his mother and told her everything. A mother is
nearer to her son in such matters than a father, for there is more in a
woman’s sympathy than there is in a man’s. If he had had any trouble in
regard to money matters, he would, no doubt, have gone to his father;
but troubles like these that were upon him were more fitted for his
mother’s ears.

“I wish thee’d never run away to sea,” said Tom’s mother.

“I wish so too,” said Tom; “but it can’t be helped now. I did run away
to sea, and there’s an end of it.”

“Can’t thee find some way of making a living at home? Maybe Elihu
Penrose would like thee better than he does if thee could stay at home,
as other young men do.”

“How can I make a living at home?” said Tom, bitterly. “Can thee tell
me of any way to make it?”

“No; but something might turn up.”

“I can’t wait for the chance of something turning up. I have seven
hundred and fifty dollars to make in twelve months’ time.”

Neither of them spoke for a while. Tom sat beside his mother, and she
was holding his hand and softly stroking it the while.

“Mother,” said Tom, at last.

“Well, son?”

“Does thee know what I’ve pretty well made up my mind to do?”

“What?”

“To go to Philadelphia on the stage to-morrow morning, and to take the
first berth that I can get.”

“Oh, Thomas! thee wouldn’t go so soon, surely! What would Patty do?”

“Patty would have to bear it, mother. She’ll have to bear it, anyhow.
It’ll be just as hard to leave to-morrow week as it will to-morrow. The
sooner I leave the sooner I’ll be back, thee knows.”

All this was very reasonable, but, nevertheless, his heart failed him
at the thought of leaving. “Of course,” he burst out, after a while,
“of course, it’s as hard for me to go as it is for her to have me go.”

“I don’t know that, Thomas,” said his mother, in a trembling voice.
“Thy life will be full of work and change. Patty will have nothing to
do but to think of thee.”

“Well, all the same, its hard to leave her, and the knowledge that she
will suffer don’t make it any the easier for me.”

He got up and began walking restlessly up and down the room. Presently
he stopped in front of his mother.

“Yes, mother,” said he, “I’ll go on the stage to-morrow morning.
There’s no use putting it off any longer, and I’d be a coward to do so.”

Then his mother put her handkerchief to her face, and the tears that
she was keeping back came very freely.

The next morning at half-past seven o’clock Tom knocked at the door
of Elihu Penrose’s house. The mill-house was about three-quarters of
a mile from the turnpike, and as he had to meet the stage there about
eight o’clock, he had only a few minutes in which to say farewell.

He walked straight into the dining-room. Patty was busy putting away
the breakfast dishes, and Elihu sat at his old brass-handled desk,
footing up his accounts. He looked up as Tom came in, and the color
flew into Patty’s cheeks.

“Thee’s beginning thy courting early in the morning, Thomas,” said
Elihu, dryly.

Tom vouchsafed no answer to this. He stood leaning against the
door-frame, and his eyes were fixed upon Patty.

“I’m going to leave home this morning,” said he.

Neither of the three spoke for a moment or two. Tom stood looking
at Patty, his hands clasped in front of him, feeling unutterably
miserable. Elihu had arisen from his chair, and he and Patty were
gazing at Tom, surprised at the suddenness of what he had told them.
Then Elihu came forward and laid his hand on Tom’s shoulder.

“Thomas,” said he, “does thee mean that thee is going—”

“I mean that I’m going to leave Eastcaster for a year,” said Tom.

“This is—this is very sudden, Thomas,” said he.

Tom nodded his head.

“Come, Thomas; I had no wish to be harsh with thee yesterday,” said the
old man. “I don’t want to push thee to the wall. This is very sudden.
Put off thy going for a week or two. Look here—even if thee don’t bring
me the seven hundred and fifty dollars just at the end of the year, I
won’t count it against thee.”

“It’s too late now,” said Tom. “My chest’s packed, and father’s going
to put it on the stage for me. I’ll not be unmanly and put off the
going, now that everything is fixed for it. If I’d have known how thee
felt yesterday, I don’t deny that I might have stayed a little while
longer. But it won’t do to stop now that I’ve started.”

All this he spoke without looking at Elihu. Elihu took his hand from
Tom’s shoulder. He stood for a moment as though he were about to say
something farther; then he slowly picked up his hat and left the room,
and Tom and Patty were alone.

In about a quarter of an hour the old man came back again. Tom looked
up at the clock. It was a quarter to eight, and he knew that the time
was come for him to go. Patty and he had been sitting on the sofa,
holding one another’s hand. They had been silent for some time, and
they both arose without a word.

Tom stood looking long and earnestly at Patty. Her face was bowed upon
her breast. “Patty, my darling,” whispered he, and then she looked up.

Her eyes were brimming with the tears that she had kept so bravely
hidden until now, and then two bright drops ran slowly down her cheeks.

“Farewell, my darling,” murmured he, in a low, broken voice. He drew
her to him, and their lips met in one long kiss. Then he turned, and
ran out of the house. He did not say farewell to Elihu, for he could
not have spoken the words, if he had tried to do so.

Ah, me! The searching pain of such a parting! Surely, the Good Father
would never have put us on this world to live the life here, were it
not that there is a world and a life to come wherein such partings
shall never be. He hath given that the birds of the air and the beasts
of the field shall not suffer dread of grief to come, and but little
sorrow for things gone by. Why, then, should He give it to us, His
goodliest creatures, to bear these things, if nothing of good or evil
was to come of such suffering hereafter?



CHAPTER IV.


THESE things happened in the spring of ’13, and the war with England
was in full swing. We thought that we knew a great deal about the war
at Eastcaster, but we really knew little or nothing of it.

The Philadelphia stage brought down the _Ledger_ from that town three
times a week, and Joseph Anderson, the teacher at the Friends’ school,
would read it aloud at the “Black Horse” tavern (it was the “Crown and
Angel” then) in the evening. A great many came to hear the news, and it
was said that the tavern did a driving business at the time; for, of
course, no one could come and sit there all evening and drink nothing.

The folks talked with great knowledge about the war; some of them so
wisely that it was a pity that poor President Madison did not have the
chance to hear them.

The truth of the matter was that Eastcaster was too far away from deep
water to feel the full heat and excitement of the trouble.

The part that interested Tom the most was the news that came now and
then of the great sea battles; that being the year that the noble old
_Constitution_ did her best fighting.

When Tom Granger came to Philadelphia, he found matters at a very
different pass from what they were in Eastcaster, for there was
talk just at that time of Commodore Beresford sailing up the river
to bombard the town; so Tom found the streets full of people and
everything in great fervent, as it had been for some time past.

Just outside of the town, the stage passed near to where two regiments
of militia were encamped—one of them not far from Grey’s Ferry.

The next morning after Tom came to Philadelphia, he called at the
office of old Mr. Nicholas Lovejoy, who was the owner of the ship in
which he had last sailed. It was the _Quaker City_, and Tom had had the
berth of third mate aboard her, which was a higher grade than he had
ever held up to that time.

Mr. Lovejoy, beside being the owner of two good ships himself, one of
which, Tom had reason to think, was then lying at the docks, had a
great deal of influence with other merchants and ship owners. He had
always been very friendly to Tom, and had said pleasant things of him
and to him more than once, so Tom had great hopes of getting a berth
through him without much loss of time.

His wish was to ship to the West Indies, if he could, as that did not
seem so far away from home.

Mr. Lovejoy was at his desk when Tom came into the office; a great
pile of letters and papers were in front of him, which he was busy in
looking over. He shook hands cordially with the young man and bade him
be seated. Tom told him what he wanted, and Mr. Lovejoy listened to him
very pleasantly. When he was done, the old gentleman said frankly that
there was a poor chance of his getting any berth just then, for that no
shipping was being done, the Delaware having been blockaded since the
first of the year.

Mr. Lovejoy did not know at that time that the blockade had been
raised, for it was not until a week or so afterward that the despatch
came to Philadelphia telling how Beresford had tried to land for water
at Lewestown, in Delaware, and not being able to do so, had given up
the whole business as an ill piece of work and had sailed away to the
Bermudas.

Mr. Lovejoy furthermore told Tom that there were three privateers being
fitted up at the docks, one of which was about ready to sail.

In those days there was a great deal of feeling against privateering,
and I cannot say that it was altogether ill-grounded, for some very
cloudy things were done by certain vessels that sailed under letters of
marque.

Mr. Lovejoy was a fine looking old gentleman, with a very red face and
very white hair, which was tied behind into a queue with a black silk
ribbon. He was never seen dressed in anything but plain black clothes
with bright silver buttons, black silk stockings and pumps. His frilled
shirt front stood out like a half moon and was stiffly starched and as
white as snow.

After Tom and he had talked a little while together, he arose, and
going to a closet in the side of the chimney place, brought out a
decanter of fine old sherry and two glasses, both of which he filled.
Tom Granger was not fond of wine, not from any conscientious feeling,
but because that the taste was not pleasant to him. Still, he took his
glass of wine and drank it too, for it is never well to decline favors
from men in power, like Mr. Nicholas Lovejoy.

After the old gentleman had finished his glass of wine, he drew out his
fine cambric handkerchief and wiped his lips.

“Tom,” said he.

“Sir,” said Tom.

“Why don’t you ship on board of a privateersman?”

“I couldn’t do it, sir,” said Tom.

“Why not?”

“Well, sir; it may sound very foolish of me to say so, but the truth is
that I don’t like the fighting.”

“Don’t like the fighting!” said Mr. Lovejoy, raising his eyebrows.
“Come, Tom, that won’t do. Why, when that junk attacked the _Quaker
City_ off Ceylon, there was not a man aboard that fought like you.
Captain Austin told me all about it, though you would never do so, and
I haven’t forgotten it. And now you pretend to tell me that you are
afraid.”

“No, sir,” said Tom Granger, very hot about the ears; “it ain’t that;
it’s the _kind_ of fighting that I don’t like. When such a junkfull of
coolies as that was came down on us, a man was bound to fight for his
own life and the lives (and more beside) of the women aboard, and there
was no great credit to him in doing it. If the worst came to the worst,
I wouldn’t so much mind entering the navy, but I don’t like the notion
of going out to run foul of some poor devil of a merchant captain, who,
maybe, has all of his fortune in his ship,—and that’s the truth sir.”

“But, Tom, the navy does the same thing.”

“Yes, sir,” said Tom, “but they do it for the sake of war, while
privateers go out for their own gain alone. I don’t see, sir, that they
are so very much better than pirates, except that they don’t do so much
murder and that the law allows them.”

At this, Mr. Lovejoy’s face began to grow a little bit redder than
usual. “Very well,” said he, getting up and standing with his back to
the fire, “suit yourself.”

By this Tom knew that it was intended for him to go, which he
accordingly did.

Just as he got to the door, Mr. Lovejoy spoke again: “Look’ee, Tom,
you are an able seaman,—none better. Think this matter over a little
more, and if you are inclined to go on a privateering cruise, after
all, I think that I may, perhaps, be able to get you a place aboard
of as tight a craft as ever floated on salt water, and, maybe, a
better berth than you ever had in your life before. There are some
fat pickings down toward the West Indies just now; I shouldn’t wonder
at all if, with the berth that I think I can get you, you would clear
a thousand or twelve hundred dollars in the first twelve months. Good
morning; come to-morrow and let me know what you decide on.” Then the
old gentleman seated himself at the desk and began to look over his
papers again, and Tom left him.

He went straight to his lodging-house (it was the old “Ship and
Anchor,” a great place for sailors in those days), and his mind was all
of a swirl and eddy like the waters astern.

It was a nasty, drizzly, muggy day, and Tom stood leaning on the
window-sill in the bar-room, trying to look out into the street through
the dirty, fly-specked window. The room was full of sailors, many of
them, no doubt, belonging to the privateers that were fitting out at
the docks, of which Mr. Lovejoy had spoken. There was a party of them
playing cards at a sloppy table that stood beside the bar. The day was
so dark with the rainy drizzle that they had a lighted candle amongst
them, so that they might be able to see the game. The room, hazy with
tobacco smoke, was full of the noise of loud talking and the air was
reeking with the heavy smell of hot liquors. But, Tom stood looking
out of the window, with his mind all of a toss and a tumble; for the
last words of old Nicholas Lovejoy sounded in his ears through all the
loud talking and foul words:—“I shouldn’t wonder if you would clear a
thousand or twelve hundred dollars in the first twelve months.”

At times they sounded so clearly that he could almost believe that they
were spoken by some one standing beside him. The more that the words
rang in his ears, the more he thought what a fool he had been in not
taking up with Mr. Lovejoy’s half offer. Why should he be squeamish? If
every one were so, things would come to a pretty pass, for the navy was
weak—in numbers—and the British were sending out their privateers all
over the ocean; and who was to fight them and protect our own shipping
if no one helped the navy?

So Tom argued within himself in the most reasonable way in the world,
for the temptation was very great.

As he stood thus, looking out of the window and seeing nothing, for his
eyes were turned within himself, some one suddenly smote him upon the
shoulder, and a voice roared in his ear, “Helloa, Tom Granger! where
are you bound?”

It was a voice that Tom Granger knew very well, for there could be no
other such in all of the world; it made one’s ears quiver, even when it
was softened somewhat to talking. So, even before Tom turned his head,
he knew that Jack Baldwin was standing behind him.

Jack Baldwin had been second mate of the _Quaker City_ on the voyage to
the East Indies.

Tom Granger never saw in all his life such another man as Jack
Baldwin. He stood nearly six feet and two inches in his stockings. His
hair and beard were black and curly, and his eyes were as black as two
beads. Tom once saw him pick up a mutinous sailor—a large and powerful
man—and shake him as you might shake a kitten. To be sure, he was in
a rage at the time. He was better dressed than Tom had ever seen him
before. There was something of a half naval smack about his toggery,
and, altogether, he looked sleek and prosperous,—very different from
what Jack ashore does as a rule.

Jack Baldwin saw that Tom Granger was looking him over. “I’m on the
crest of the wave now,” said he, in his great, deep voice, grinning as
he spoke. “Look’ee, Tom,” and he fetched up a gold eagle from out of
his breeches pocket. He spun it up into the air, and caught it in his
palm again as it fell. “There’s plenty more of the same kind where this
came from, Tom.”

“I wish that I only knew where the tree that they grow on is to be
found,” said Tom, ruefully.

“So you shall, my hearty. And do you want me to tell you where it is?”

“Yes.”

“Tom, you’re a loon!”

“Why so? Because I want to know where the tree grows where gold eagles
may be had for the picking?”

“You were at the place this very blessed morning, and might have
gathered a pocketful of the bright boys if you hadn’t run before a
little wind as though it was a hurricane.”

“What do you mean?” said Tom, though he half knew without the asking.

“That I’ll tell you—here, you, bring me a glass of hot brandy and
water; will you splice, Tom?”

“Not I.”

“I bring to mind that you were always called the Quaker aboard ship,
and the name fits you well. You will neither fight nor drink, without
you have to.”

So the grog was brought, and Jack Baldwin and Tom Granger sat down,
opposite to one another, at a rickety deal table.

Presently Jack leaned over and laid his hand on Tom’s arm. “Where do
you think I hail from, Tom?” said he.

“I don’t know.”

“Well, I’ll tell you: from old Nick, or old Lovejoy, or Davy
Jones,—whichever you choose to call him. I was with him not ten minutes
after you left. He sent me after you, to hunt you up; so I came
straight here, like a hot shot, for I knew I’d find you in the old
place. Sure enough, I’ve found you, and here we are,—shipmates both.”

“And what did you want of me?”

“That I’ll tell you. Tom,”—here he lowered his voice to a deep
rumble—“have you seen the _Nancy Hazlewood_?”

“No.”

“Well I’ll show her to you after a bit. She is lying in the river,
just below Smith’s Island. She’s the new privateer.”

Tom’s heart beat more quickly, but he only said, “Is she?”

“Who do you think’s the owner, Tom?”

“How should I know?”

“Old Lovejoy!” Here Jack raised his glass of grog, and took a long pull
at it, looking over the rim at Tom all the while. Tom was looking down,
picking hard at the corner of the table.

“I don’t see that this is any concern of mine,” he said, in a low voice.

“Don’t you? Well, I’ll tell you what concern it is of yours; I’m to be
first mate, and I want you to be second,—and now the murder’s out!”

Tom shook his head, but he said nothing.

Jack Baldwin slid his palm down, until it rested on the back of Tom’s
hand. “Look’ee, Tom Granger,” said he, roughly; “I like you. We’ve been
messmates more than once, and I don’t forget how you kept that yellow
coolie devil from jabbing his d—d snickershee into my back, over off
Ceylon. There’s no man in all the world that I’d as soon have for a
shipmate as you. Old Lovejoy, too;—he says that he must have you. He
knows very well that there isn’t a better seaman living than the one
that stands in Tom Granger’s shoes. Don’t be a fool! Go to the old man,
name your own figure, for he’ll close with you at any reasonable terms.”

So Jack talked and talked, and Tom listened and listened, and the
upshot of it was that he promised to go and see old Mr. Lovejoy again
the next morning.

You may easily guess how it all turned out, for when a man not only
finds that he is in temptation, but is willing to be there, he is
pretty sure to end by doing that which he knows is not right.

So Tom drank another glass of Mr. Lovejoy’s fine old sherry, the
old gentleman offered liberal terms, and the end of the matter was
that Tom promised to enter as second mate of the _Nancy Hazlewood_,
privateersman.

Tom Granger has always felt heartily ashamed of himself because of the
way that he acted in this matter. It is not that privateering was so
bad; I pass no judgment on that, and I know that there were many good
men in that branch of the service.

I have always held that a man is not necessarily wicked because he
does a bad action; he may not know that it is bad, and then, surely,
no blame can be laid to his account. But when he feels that a thing is
evil, he is wrong in doing it, whether it is evil or not.

Jack Baldwin did nothing wrong in going on this privateering cruise,
for he saw nothing wrong in it, but Tom Granger thought that it was
wrong, and yet did it; therefore he has always felt ashamed of himself.

In looking back, after all these years, it is hard to guess what
he expected would be the end of the matter. If he had come back in
a year’s time,—which he did not do,—and if he had brought home a
thousand dollars of prize money from a privateering cruise, I am very
much inclined to think that Elihu Penrose would hardly have judged that
it had been fairly earned.

Friends were very much more strict in their testimony against war then
than they are now. Numbers of young men went from here during the
rebellion, and nothing was thought of it. I myself had a grandson in
the navy;—he is a captain now.

As I said, Elihu Penrose would hardly have fancied Tom Granger’s way of
earning money, if it had been won in that way; as for what Patty would
have said and done,—I do not like to think of it.

However, it is no use trying to guess at the color of the chicks that
addled eggs might have hatched out, so I will push on with my story,
and tell how the _Nancy Hazlewood_ put to sea, and what befell her
there.



CHAPTER V.


THE _Nancy Hazlewood_ put to sea on a Friday. Tom Granger was not over
fanciful in the matter of signs and omens; nevertheless, he always had
a nasty feeling about sailing on that day; he might reason with himself
that it was foolish, but the feeling was there, and was not to be done
away with. The only other time that he had sailed on a Friday, was in
the barque _Manhattan_ (Captain Nathan J. Wild), bound for Nassau, with
a cargo of wheat. About a week afterward, she put back into New York
harbor again, and not a day too soon, either. Captain Granger has often
told the tale of this short cruise, so I will not tell it over again,
as it has nothing to do with this story, except to show why it was that
Tom Granger always had an ill-feeling about sailing on Friday.

As a matter of fact, there was a greater and a better reason to feel
worried than on account of this, for the truth was, that the _Nancy
Hazlewood_ put to sea fully ten days before she should have done so,
and from that arose most of the trouble.

The blame in the matter belonged no more to one than to another, for
all thought that it was for the best to weigh anchor when they did;
nevertheless, it was a mistake, and a very sad mistake.

There never was any wish to cast a slur on the memory of Captain
Knight, in the account of the matter that was afterward published,
for no one ever said, to my knowledge, that he was anything else than
a good seaman, and knew his business. But certainly, his headstrong
wilfulness in the matter of the troubles that befell the ship was, to
say the least, very blameworthy.

Tom saw nothing of Captain Knight until the day before the ship sailed.
Indeed, the captain had not been in town, so far as he knew. This had
troubled him. He had said nothing about it, but it had troubled him.

About noon on Thursday, the day before the ship sailed, Tom came to
Lovejoy’s dock, where he was overseeing the lading of some stores. One
of the clerks at the dock told him that Captain Knight had been aboard
of the ship, and also that he had wanted to see him, and had waited
for him some time, but had gone about fifteen minutes before. A little
while afterward Mr. Whimple, Mr. Lovejoy’s head-clerk, came to him and
asked him to step up to the office, as Captain Knight and Mr. Lovejoy
were there, and wanted to speak to him.

Captain Knight was standing in front of the fire, talking with Mr.
Lovejoy, when Tom came into the office. He shook hands very heartily
when Mr. Lovejoy made them acquainted, and said some kind things to
Tom—that he had no doubt but that their intercourse would be pleasant;
at least, he hoped so (smiling), for, from that which he had heard of
Tom, he felt that it would be his own fault if it were not. He said
that he was sorry that he had not been on hand to oversee matters, as
he should have done, although he knew that these things could be in no
better hands; that his mother had been so sick that she had not been
expected to live, and that it had not been possible for him to come on
from Connecticut sooner.

Tom felt relieved to find that Captain Knight had such a good reason
for not having been on hand to see to the proper lading of his vessel.
He also gathered from this speech that the captain was a Yankee, which
he had not known before. Jack Baldwin told him afterward that he hailed
from New London, and had the name of being a very good sailor and a
great fighter.

He was quite a young man, a little older than Tom, perhaps, but hardly
as old as Jack Baldwin. He was a fine gentlemanly fellow, and looked
not unlike a picture of Commodore Decatur that Tom had seen in the
window of a print shop in Walnut street, though Knight was the younger
man.

After a short time Jack Baldwin came into the office; Captain Knight
and he spoke to one another, for they had met before.

Presently, as they all stood talking together, Mr. Lovejoy asked of a
sudden whether it would be possible, at a pinch, to weigh anchor the
next day.

Tom was struck all aback at this, and could hardly believe that he
heard aright.

“I should think,” said Captain Knight, “that it might be done;” and,
from the way in which he spoke, Tom could see that he and Mr. Lovejoy
had already talked the matter over and had pretty well settled it
between themselves.

“What do you think, Mr. Baldwin,” said old Mr. Lovejoy, and all looked
at Jack for an answer.

“I think, sir,” said Jack, in his rough way, “I think, sir, as Captain
Knight says, that it _might_ be done. A man might cruise from here to
Cochin China, in a dory, provided that he had enough hard-tack and
water aboard. If he met a gale, though, he would be pretty sure to go
to the bottom,—and so should we.”

Tom could easily see that Captain Knight was touched at the way in
which Jack had spoken, as well he might be. It was, however, Jack’s
usual way of speaking, and it is not likely that he meant anything by
it.

“What do _you_ think, Mr. Granger?” said Captain Knight, turning
quickly to Tom, with a little red spot burning in each cheek.

Tom was sorry that he was brought into the matter, for he saw, as has
been said, that Captain Knight was touched, and he did not want to say
anything to gall him further. However, he answered, as he was asked:
“I am afraid, sir,” said he, smiling, “that it may perhaps be a little
risky to weigh anchor just yet.” Of course, he could not explain when
it was not asked of him to do so, but he knew that it would take fully
ten days, if not two weeks, to get the _Nancy Hazlewood_ into anything
like fit sailing trim. Not only were the decks hampered up with a mass
of stores of all kinds (for it had been necessary to crowd them aboard
in a great hurry), but no start had been made at drawing out watch,
quarter and station bills. Tom could not help thinking that if Captain
Knight had been on hand during the past week, he never would have given
it as his opinion that the vessel was fit to sail,—even on a pinch.

When Tom gave his answer, Captain Knight turned hastily away to
the fire-place, and began in a nervous sort of a way to finger a
letter-stamp that lay on the mantle-shelf. Any one could see that he
was very much irritated; but in a few moments he turned around again,
and seemed quiet enough, only that the red still burned in his cheeks.
Mr. Lovejoy tried to throw oil on the troubled water.

“Mr. Granger,” said he, resting his hand ever so lightly on Tom’s arm
for a moment, “Mr. Granger has had a great deal to do this past week,
and maybe (smiling) the overpress of work makes him think that there is
more yet to be done than there really is. I wouldn’t,” said he, taking
up a letter from his desk, “I wouldn’t think for a moment, and neither
would Captain Knight, of letting the _Hazlewood_ leave her anchorage
just now, if it were not for this packet, which was sent to me this
morning, about half-past ten o’clock.”

Here he handed the packet to Jack Baldwin, who read it, and then passed
it to Tom without a word. It was the news that Beresford had lifted the
blockade of the Delaware.

“You see,” said Mr. Lovejoy, “here is a good chance of getting away.
There is no knowing how soon John Bull will shut the door again, and
then, here we’ll be penned up for six months, or more, perhaps.”

Then Captain Knight spoke again. He said that while the ship might
not be in fit trim for sailing in an ordinary case, some risks must
be run with her, for risks, greater or less, must always be taken in
this sort of service. He said that he proposed to run for the Capes,
and put into Lewes Harbor if the weather seemed likely to be heavy.
They could get in proper trim there just as easily as they could in
Philadelphia. He also said that, being just inside of the Capes, they
would not only have good harborage, but could either slip out to sea or
run up the bay, in case that any of the enemy’s cruisers should appear
in the offing. Another great advantage was that they would be this much
further on their cruise, and, if the weather turned out well, could
take their chances and run for Key West, even if the ship were not in
the best of order.

“I know,” said he, “that both Mr. Baldwin and Mr. Granger have been
bred to caution in the merchant service, where cargoes and storage are
almost the first things to consider, but” (here he looked straight at
Jack), “one must have some courage in the sort of service that we are
about to enter upon, for a lack of that is almost as great a fault as
poor seamanship.”

There was a great deal of reason in the first part of this speech, and
Tom could not help seeing it, though for all that he was troubled at
the step which they seemed about to take. As for what was last said, he
felt that it was most uncalled for, for he knew that Jack Baldwin was
as brave as any man living; nor was he, I think, a coward.

Jack was very angry. He said that if any occasion should arise, he
hoped to show Captain Knight that he would dare to do as much as any
man that ever walked a deck-plank, no matter whom he might be; that he
would say no more about lying in port, and was now willing to sail at
any time—the sooner the better.

Poor old Mr. Lovejoy was very much troubled at the ill feeling between
the two men. He talked to both very kindly until, after a while, the
trouble seemed to clear away somewhat, and things went more smoothly.

At last it was settled that if the wind held to the northward (it had
been blowing from that quarter for the last two days) they should weigh
anchor at three o’clock in the afternoon, so as to take advantage of
the ebb tide, and run down as far as Lewestown harbor at least.

“What do you say to all this, Tom?” said Jack, as the two walked down
to the dock together.

“I say nothing, Jack.”

“It seems to me that you never do say anything,” said Jack, “but _I_
say something; I say that we are all a pack of lubberly fools, and that
the worst one amongst us is that walking sea dandy, for he ought to
know better.”

Tom could not but agree with a part of this speech, but he made no
answer, for it could do no good.

The anchor was weighed at three o’clock the next day as had been
fixed upon, and they ran down the river with the wind E. N. E. and an
ebb tide to help them along; and so began the cruise of the _Nancy
Hazlewood_.

All this may seem to be spun out somewhat over long, but I tell it to
you that you may see just why the _Nancy Hazlewood_ sailed when she
did, which was ten days before she should have done. The day of sailing
was Friday, the 20th of April, 1813.

Tom wrote a letter to Patty Penrose on the evening before he sailed.
It was a long letter and he told her many things, but he did not
tell her that the vessel in which he had sailed as second mate was a
privateersman.

It may be well that the _Nancy Hazlewood_ should be described, that
you may have a notion of the craft in which Tom Granger went upon his
first and last privateering cruise. She was a full-rigged ship of
five hundred and fifty tons, and, though so small, had a poop and a
top-gallant forecastle.

Tom had rarely seen a vessel with handsomer lines.

She was evidently intended for great speed, though, in his judgment,
she was rather heavily sparred for a vessel of her size. It afterward
proved that she was so. She carried eight thirty-two pound carronades
on the main deck, and two long twelves, one on the forecastle and one
on the poop; and about one hundred men. Altogether, though not so
heavily armed as the _Dolphin_ or _Comet_ of Baltimore, she was one of
the most substantial as well as one of the swiftest privateersmen that
ever left any port of the country during the war.

As a rule, privateersmen were swift-sailing brigs or schooners,
heavily armed and manned, and depending largely upon their prizes
for provisions; but the _Nancy Hazlewood_ was fitted out almost as
completely as though she were in the regular service.

All that night and during Saturday the 21st it blew heavily from the
N. E. On Saturday evening, however, the weather broke and there seemed
a prospect of its being clear the next day. On Sunday forenoon at two
bells the _Nancy Hazlewood_ was nearly abreast of Lewestown harbor.
Captain Knight was on the poop at the time, and he gave orders to Tom,
who was the officer of the deck, that a craft should be signaled to
take off the pilot.

Tom was struck all aback at this; it was the first hint that he had had
that Captain Knight did not intend to put into Lewestown harbor after
all. It was in rather an uncomfortable state of mind that he gave the
needful orders, had the jack run up at the fore and the vessel hove to.

Captain Knight stood beside Tom, his hands clasped behind him, watching
the pilot boat as it presently hoisted sail and bore down under
the lee quarter. What his feelings were cannot be told; Tom’s were
uncomfortable enough, as has been said. He knew that Captain Knight
must have had good and sufficient reason for that which he was about
to do; nevertheless, his heart sank as he cast his eyes around and saw
the confusion everywhere; the deck littered with all sort of gear and
hamper. There is an old saying that a vessel is never ready for sea
until a week after leaving port. Tom thought that the _Nancy Hazlewood_
was at least three weeks behind time.

Presently Jack Baldwin came up from below. He cast his eyes quickly
aloft, and then he looked at the pilot boat, which was now close under
the lee quarter.

Tom could see that he took it all in in a moment.

He came straight across the deck to where Captain Knight and Tom
Granger were standing, and touched his hat to the captain.

“Captain Knight,” said he.

“Sir?” said the captain, turning quickly upon him.

“The understanding was that we were to put into Lewes Harbor, for a
time; at least, so I understood it. May I ask if you intend to put to
sea, after all?”

Tom stood aghast. He had never heard an officer speak to his captain
in such a way in all his life before. There was no better seaman
afloat than Jack Baldwin, and it must have been a serious case, in his
opinion, that would excuse him in so addressing his commanding officer.

As for Captain Knight, he grew white to the lips.

He spoke in a low tone, and very slowly, but his voice trembled with
the weight of his anger. “Mr. Baldwin,” said he, “I don’t know where
you have sailed, or what discipline you have seen, that has taught
you to allow yourself to question your captain’s intentions to your
captain’s self. Understand me, sir, once and for all: I am the chief
officer of this ship, and I will not have you, nor any man aboard,
question me. You hear me? That will do, sir; go to your room.”

The two men looked at one another for a moment. Tom held his breath,
expecting to hear Jack blaze out with something that would get him into
more trouble than ever. However, he said nothing, but swung on his heel
and went below.

Captain Knight stood beside Tom, in silence, his breath coming and
going quickly; suddenly, he too turned and walked hastily to the cabin,
banging the door behind him.

Tom leaned on the rail, sick at heart; he felt miserable about the
whole matter. Here he was, embarked on a cruise for which he had no
liking, in the stormy season of the year, in a ship which he believed
to be unfit for sailing, with a crew that had no discipline, and the
captain and the first mate at loggerheads before they were out of
harbor. He would have given an eye to be safe ashore again.

And yet, that Sunday morning was not a day to breed troubled thoughts.
Tom had rarely seen a lovelier one; the air seemed more like June than
April. The last few days of rain had washed the air until it was as
clear as crystal. One could see every window pane in the little town
of Lewes. There was a sentry walking up and down on the newly-made
earthworks in front of the town, and at every turn that he took at the
end of his beat, his bayonet flashed like a star. The ship rose and
fell lazily on the heaving of the ground swell that rolled in around
the Capes. Down to the southward the white sands stretched away into
the looming of the distance, rimmed with a whiter line of foam until
all was lost in the misty haze cast up by the tumbling surf.

The pilot boat had now run up near to them, and was launching a dory
from her deck. Tom stood leaning on the rail, looking at her, and
presently the pilot came and stood beside him. He was a short, powerful
man, bull-necked and long-armed. A shock of hair and a grizzled
beard seemed to make a sort of frame around his face. Even he felt
uncomfortable at that which had just passed.

“A nasty row, wasn’t it, sir?” said he to Tom, jerking his head toward
the captain’s cabin.

Tom made no answer; in fact, he did not look at the man, for it was
none of the fellow’s business.

Presently the dory came alongside, and the pilot slid down the
man-ropes and stepped cleverly into her.

By noon the _Nancy Hazlewood_ had dropped Cape May astern. The captain
had sent for Jack to come upon deck again, to take his watch at eight
bells. Captain Knight had directed her course to be laid S. E. by E.,
by which Tom supposed that he intended to run well out, so as to escape
the chance of falling in with any of the British cruisers that were at
that time hanging about the coast, more especially off the mouth of the
Chesapeake. The wind was nearly astern, every inch of cloth was spread,
and the way in which the _Nancy Hazlewood_ boomed along showed Tom
Granger that he had not overrated her sailing qualities. The log showed
that she was running at a little over eleven knots.

All of the afternoon Tom was in the forward part of the vessel, looking
to the clearing away of a lot of stores, for they were getting things
to rights as well as they could, and taking advantage of the fair
weather to do it.

And it was very needful, too, for, beside spare suits of sails and
spars, lashed to nothing, there was a great litter of miscellaneous
stores,—barrels of salt pork, junk, hard-tack, and flour, kegs, chests,
crates, yeoman’s and purser’s stores, and a hundred and one things—too
many to tell of.

Tom could not help wondering, as he looked at this mass of stores, what
they should do if it should be needful to man the guns for a fight, or
work the ship in a sudden squall. However, no craft of any sort was in
sight, and there was no sign of foul weather.

One of the worst features of the whole matter was the slowness with
which they got along with the business of clearing up all this hamper;
the work seemed to gather on them instead of growing less.

About the middle of the afternoon, Jack came to where Tom stood
overseeing the men at this work. He stood beside him for some time
without saying a word, looking moodily at them. Presently he spoke all
of a sudden: “What do you say to it all, Tom?”

“I have nothing to say, Jack,” said Tom.

“You may have nothing to say,” said Jack, “but I have. Mark my words,
Tom, if we’re caught in any sort of heavy weather we’ll founder as
sure as my name’s Jack Baldwin!” So saying, he turned on his heel and
walked quickly away. Tom could easily see that Jack felt touched at him
because he did not show more feeling in the matter. But though Tom did
not show it, his thoughts were uncomfortable enough in all conscience.

That day (the twenty-second), was as good a day as one could have
wished for, and so was the next,—and that was the last, for then the
trouble began.



CHAPTER VI.


SO the 23d was the last fair day that they had on that short cruise.
During the forenoon the wind held from nearly the same quarter—that is,
northerly and westerly.

The air was mild and pleasant; the day, like the day before, seemed
more like June than the middle of April.

Toward noon, however, the wind shifted around to the southward and
eastward, and the glass had a downward bearing. Tom saw, with a
troubled feeling, that the weather began to take an ugly sort of
a look. About nine o’clock Captain Knight gave orders to have the
vessel’s course altered to nearly due south.

At noon the observation showed their position to be about 35° 40′
north, by 71° west, with Hatteras about 210 miles distant, W. by S. on
the starboard beam.

A little before eight bells, Captain Knight came up on deck again, and
Tom, feeling anxious himself, looked out of the corners of his eyes,
to see if he could gather what the captain thought of the situation.
It seemed to Tom that he was not quite easy in his mind. He cast his
eyes aloft, and then looked around. He took a turn or two up and down
the deck, and then looked at the glass, which, as had been said, was
falling. Whatever he might have thought about the looks of things,
he said nothing. Tom had half expected an order to shorten sail, but
Captain Knight gave none such, and presently went to his cabin again.

Shortly after noon the wind was blowing from the northeast. It became
a great deal colder, and by four o’clock the sky was overcast by a
gathering haze, which, at last, shut out the sun altogether.

About this time they fell in with shifting banks of fog, blowing before
the wind, the like of which Tom had never seen before. They seemed to
drift in belts, and were no doubt raised by cold currents of air, for
a chill could be felt the minute the ship would run into one of them.
Every now and then the wind would sweep these banks away, rolling them
up before it, and for a little while there would be a clear space
around the ship for maybe a couple of miles or more.

At that time they were under all plain sail to top gallant sails, and
were booming along at a rate that could not have been less than ten
knots. Tom thought that the _Nancy Hazlewood_ might even have done
better than she was then doing, were it not that she labored in a most
unusual way for a vessel, in a wind no heavier than that in which she
was then sailing. There is no doubt that this came from the heaviness
of her spars as well as the ill stowage of her provisions and stores;
still she was doing well, and any one could see with half an eye that
it would be an uncommonly swift cruiser to whom the _Nancy Hazlewood_
would not be able to show a clean pair of heels, if the need should
arise for her doing so.

It was a little before the middle of the first dog watch, when there
happened one of the closest misses that Tom ever had of losing his
life. I most firmly believe that if any one beside Jack Baldwin had
been the officer of the deck, Tom Granger’s story would never have had
to have been told.

Jack was walking up and down on the poop in a restless sort of a way.
It was plain that he was anxious at the fog, as well he might be. At
one time the ship would be surging away across what seemed to be a
lake, with dull banks of snow all around, at another she would plunge
headforemost into whirling clouds of mist, so thick that the leaden sea
alongside could barely be seen; heaving as though it were something
alive, and the fog was smothering it.

Jack came to the break of the poop and looked over to where Tom was
standing, on the deck below. His black hair and beard were covered with
the dampness, so that he looked as though he had turned gray.

“Tom,” said he, “I wish you’d slip foreward and see that those men are
keeping a bright lookout ahead. Keep your weather eye lifted too, Tom,
till we’re out of the worst of this infernally thick fog.”

So Tom went foreward, as Jack had asked him to do, and found that the
two men who had been placed there since they had run into the fog were
keeping as sharp a lookout as could be wished for.

Just as Tom climbed up on the forecastle, they surged out into a clear
space, that was maybe two miles or two miles and a quarter from side to
side.

They had run pretty nearly across this stretch, and I recollect that
Tom was just lighting his pipe under the lee of the foremast. As he
raised his head and looked over the port bow, he saw a sight that made
the blood stand still in his veins.

_It was a man-of-war in full sail, looming up like a mountain._

It came out of the fog so suddenly, that it seemed as though the mist
had taken form from itself. It was bearing straight down across the
port bow of the _Nancy Hazlewood_, plunging forward as solemnly as
death. It could not have been more than six or seven ships’ lengths
distant, and the great sails bellying out like big clouds, shadowed
over the _Nancy Hazlewood_ as _she_ might have shadowed over a fishing
smack.

Ten seconds more and she would have been down upon them, and would have
crushed the little craft as though she had been made of paper. There
was a moment of silence as great as though every man aboard of the
_Nancy Hazlewood_ had been turned to stone. I remember that Tom Granger
stood with his newly-lighted pipe in his hand, never moving a hair.

The silence was only for an instant, though, for the next moment a
voice roared like a trumpet:

“Hard a starboard! Let go, head sheets and lee head braces!”

It was Jack Baldwin’s voice, and never did Tom hear it ring as it
did at that moment. It not only was heard through the ship, but it
pealed through it like a clap of thunder. Those below came tumbling
up helter-skelter, and the captain came running out of his cabin, for
there was a ring in Jack’s voice that told every man aboard of the ship
that great danger was down upon them. It seemed to break the stillness
around just as a stone dropped into a well might break the stillness
below. In an instant the braces were flung from the belaying-pins, and
the ship came up toward the wind without a second to lose. Before those
aboard of the frigate had gathered their wits she had passed alongside,
and so close that a child could easily have pitched a biscuit aboard of
the _Nancy Hazlewood_ from the decks that loomed twenty feet above her.

The whole thing was over in a dozen seconds, but those dozen seconds
are stamped on Tom Granger’s mind as clearly as though they were
chiseled in marble. Even now, though he is over eighty years old, he
can see that great frigate rising higher and higher as she surges
forward, towering over the little ship, while a hundred faces pop up
above the rail and stare down upon her decks. It was only a moment—a
thread of time—on which hung the chance as to whether she would clear
or not. There was a thunderous roar of the waters under the bow, flung
back in an echo from the wooden walls of the frigate; there was a
vision of open ports rushing by, and of scared faces crowded at them,
in spite of discipline; then the frigate was astern and the danger gone
past with her. But in that short moment of passing they saw enough to
make them know that she was a British cruiser.

I say again that if Jack Baldwin had not had the deck at that time
there would never have been any story to tell of Tom Granger, for if
Jack had hesitated only so much as two seconds, as I am afraid that Tom
would have done in his case, the _Nancy Hazlewood_ would have been run
down just as sure as that there is a sun in the heavens.

So the danger went by, and all was over in a quarter of the time that
it takes to tell it. The head-yards were braced up, the head-sheets
were gathered aft, the _Nancy Hazlewood_ stood away on her course
again, and the next moment plunged into the fog and was gone.

But, in the meantime, they had wakened up aboard of the frigate, and
just as the _Nancy Hazlewood_ ran into the bank they heard an order
shouted aboard of the man-of-war, sounding faint because of the
distance that the two vessels had now run:

“Weather head, and main; lee cro’ jack braces!”

That meant that the frigate was about to wear, follow down in their
wake and do that which she had so nearly missed doing a minute
before—finish up the Yankee.

Tom came aft, and, though he would have felt like knocking the man down
that would have said so at the time, his hands were cold and trembling
nervously. For the matter of that, Jack Baldwin’s face was whiter than
it was used to be. “A close shave, sir,” said he to Captain Knight, who
stood beside him; but there was a nervous tremor in his voice in spite
of the boldness that he assumed. Indeed, the only perfectly cool man
aboard was Captain Knight. He stood looking aft, as though he would
pierce the fog and make out what the vessel astern of him was about.

Presently he turned to Jack. “Did you not understand from that order
that he was about to ware ship, Mr. Baldwin?” said he.

“I think that I understood them to give such an order, sir,” said Jack.

Captain Knight drew out his snuff box and took a pinch of snuff. “I
understood it so,” said he, shutting the lid of the box with a snap
and sliding it into his pocket again. He stood for about a couple of
minutes looking, now up at the sails and now straight ahead; presently
he turned to Jack again.

“Bring her by the wind on the starboard tack, Mr. Baldwin,” said he.
“We’ll slip out of this neighborhood on somewhat the same course that
the Englishman held a few minutes ago, and leave him groping about here
in this infernal blindness for us.”

It seemed to Tom that Captain Knight had done a wise thing in taking
the course that he did to get away from the Englishman. If the fog
should lift, and they should find that the frigate had the weather
gauge, they might get into a nasty pickle, whereas this course would
give _them_ the weather gauge and every chance to get away.

After a while Captain Knight told Jack to set the fore-topmast stay
sail, and then, after some hesitation, to set the royals. It was quite
plain that he had made up his mind to crack on sail, so as to gain as
much to the windward of the frigate as he could.

The _Nancy Hazlewood_ was now sailing close-hauled, and was as pretty
a sight as one could wish to see. The wind was blowing stiffly, as it
had done for some time. It had not increased to any account, though the
scud was beginning to fly across the sky, and there was every prospect
of its blowing heavily before morning. So the _Nancy Hazlewood_ went
bowling along on this wind, her bows every now and then flinging a
roaring sea from her in an ocean of foam. She was careened over so that
the sea eddied around the lee scuppers, and her copper bottom showed
red in the green waters. On she went, bouncing from sea to sea, as a
ball bounces when it is rolled across the ground. The top-gallant masts
were bent like a bow, and the weather backstays were as taut as the
bow-string, those on the lee bowing out gracefully before the wind. The
cloud of sails were bellied big and round, and were as hard as iron,
and altogether, as was said, the _Nancy Hazlewood_ was as pretty a
sight as one could wish to see.

About two bells in the first watch Captain Knight gave orders that the
ship should be put about, and running two points free on the starboard
tack, stood off to the S.E.

This, as has been said, was one of the narrowest shaves that Tom
Granger ever had for his life, and as long as he shall remember
anything he will never forget that half-minute when the British frigate
was coming down upon them under full sail, with death at the helm.



CHAPTER VII.


THE next morning, when Tom came upon deck, he found that the wind had
increased to half a gale. It was a dreary sight. The sky was heavy and
leaden, and the sea was like liquid lead, for, when the sky is dull,
like it was that morning, it seems as though one could almost walk
over the surface of the ocean, so hard does it look, and so lacking of
depth, excepting where the crest of the wave sharpens just before it
breaks.

The _Nancy Hazlewood_ showed that she was a very wet ship, for her
decks were covered with water, that ran swashing from side to side. She
would roll well over on her side, like a log, and scoop in the top of a
wave, that would rush backward and forward across the deck until it had
run out of the scupper holes; but before it was fairly gone another sea
would come, so that the decks were never free of water. Not only was
the ship laboring strangely, but she was yawing so that two men at the
wheel could hardly keep her to her course.

Jack was standing on the poop, anxious and troubled. Tom stood beside
him, but neither of them spoke for a while, both being sunk in deep
thought.

“Tom,” said Jack, at last, in a low voice, “I’ve sailed in a many ships
in my time, but I never saw one behave like this. She bothers me; I
don’t know what to make of her.” He paused for a moment, and then he
clapped his hand to his thigh. “D—n it,” said he, “she ain’t either
equipped or stowed in a fit way. She ought never to have put out from
Lewestown Harbor in her condition, and, without I’m much mistaken,
we’ll find that out long before we reach Key West.”

Then he turned over the orders and went below to get his breakfast,
leaving Tom in charge of the deck.

The day passed without especial event, and that night at the mid-watch
Tom turned in to get a little sleep. It seemed to him that he had
hardly closed his eyes when he was aroused by the sound of the
boatswain’s voice ringing, as it were, in his very ears:

“_All hands reef topsails!_”

Tom tumbled out of his bunk and stood on the cabin floor. There was a
noise of pounding and grinding alongside, and the decks were careened,
so that the first thought that occurred to him was that the ship was
foundering. He ran up on deck without stopping a moment, for there
was a vibration in the boatswain’s voice that told him that something
serious had befallen.

The gale had increased with a sudden and heavy squall, and the
maintop-gallant-mast had gone by the board. It was hanging alongside,
a tangled wreck, and it was the thumping and grinding of this that Tom
had heard when he had first opened his eyes. A dozen men were at work
cutting away the wreck, and Tom jumped to help them. At last it drifted
away astern, a tangled mass on the surface of grey foam.

All around them were seas, ten or fifteen feet high, shining with
phosphorescent crests, moving solemnly forward with their black weight
of thousands of tons of solid water. Amongst these the little ship
labored like a living thing in pain. The men ran up aloft, and Jack,
trumpet to mouth, bellowed orders that rang above all the thunder of
the gale. Presently the sails were clapping and thundering in the
darkness above, as the men wrestled with them. Now and then voices were
to be heard through all the roaring of the waters and the howling of
the wind: “Haul out to windward!” and “Light out to leeward!”—an uproar
of noises that one never hears excepting on shipboard, and at such a
time.

Day broke with the storm blowing as furiously as ever. Tom was officer
of the deck, when, about ten o’clock, Maul, the carpenter, came aft to
where he was standing. He was a fine-looking fellow, broad-shouldered
and deep-chested. He chucked his thumb up to his forehead, and,
shifting the quid of tobacco from one cheek to the other, told Tom that
which sent a thrill shivering through him:

“Ten inches of water in the well, sir.”

The pumps sucked at five inches, so the _Nancy Hazlewood_ had made five
inches of water in the last hour.

“I was afraid it would come,” said Tom to himself, and then he went
and reported it to the captain, for, though the leak was not of much
account as regarded size, it was as dangerous as it was sudden.

“Man the pumps, sir,” was all that the captain said.

Before very long the pumps sucked, and the men gave a cheer. So far
all was well enough. But an hour afterward the carpenter came aft and
reported that there was a little less than thirteen inches of water in
the well. Captain Knight, and Tom, and Jack were standing near together
on the poop at the time.

“Man the pumps,” was all that the captain said, and then he moved away.

“Jack,” said Tom, in a low voice, “this looks ugly.”

“You’re right; it does,” said Jack.

There was a cold, dull rain blowing slantwise across the ocean at that
time, which shut in everything to within a mile or two of the ship.
The gale had moderated but little, but now, through all the roaring,
you could hear the regular thump, thump of the pumps, where two lines
of men were working at the brakes. Every now and then the sound of the
pumping would stop with the sucking of water, but presently it would
begin again—thump! thump! thump! thump! When evening came the sound was
unceasing, for at that time they were not pumping the water out of the
ship as fast as she was making it.

The last thing that Tom heard that night was the continuous thumping,
and it was the first thing that met his ears when he opened his eyes
again. He went up on deck, and when he looked around him his heart
fell within him. Half of the maintop-sail was blown away, the shreds
standing straight out with the force of the wind. There was a great
deal of water on the deck—perhaps never less than three feet on the lee
side.

She was not taking much water over the weather rail, but she would take
it to leeward, and then roll to windward, and the sea would go rushing
across the deck, carrying everything before it.

That afternoon he stood on the poop deck looking over the side of the
vessel. She was rolling with a dull, heavy motion from side to side; it
was just such a motion as a log in a mill pond will take if you give it
a push with your foot. He looked first astern, and then forward, and
he saw that the stern was deeper in the water than the bows. Just then
he felt a hand on his shoulder; he looked up and saw that it was Jack
Baldwin.

“Tom,” said he, in a low voice.

“What is it, Jack?”

“I’ve been looking too; do you know that the ship’s foundering?”

Tom nodded his head, for he did not feel like speaking.

“Tom,” said Jack, after a moment of silence; “what do you suppose is
the reason that Captain Knight don’t give orders to have the boats
cleared away, ready for lowering.”

“Perhaps he don’t think it’s time; the ship’ll last a good while longer
yet, Jack.”

“Do you think that’s his reason, Tom?” said Jack.

Tom did not answer.

“I see you don’t. Look here, Tom; do you want to know what I’m
beginning to think? It’s this,—_that he don’t intend to let a man leave
this ship, if he can’t bring her to Key West!_”

“For God’s sake, don’t breathe a word of that in the men’s hearing,
Jack. You can’t believe what you say.”

“What did Captain Sedgwick do last November?”

Tom did not answer; he knew that story only too well. Captain Sedgwick,
of the privateersman _Mirabel_, had fallen in with a British cruiser
off Barnegat; had been crippled by her, and had blown up his ship and
all hands on board, so that she might not fall into the Englishman’s
hands. Three men out of one hundred and eighteen had come off with
their lives.

“For heaven’s sake, Jack, don’t breathe a word of this to the crew!”
said Tom again, and then he turned away.

As the day wore along, things looked more and more gloomy.

About three o’clock in the afternoon a sound fell on their ears, that
thrilled through every man on board. It was the voice of the lookout,
roaring,—“Sail ho!”

“Where away?” sang out Jack.

“Two points on the port bow,” came the answer.

Most of the crew ran to the side of the vessel, as did the men at the
brakes. Tom did not order them back, for he saw that there would be no
use in doing so.

As the day had worn along, the discipline of the ship had begun to go
pretty much to pieces, and there had been great difficulty in keeping
the men at the brakes. I think that they, like Jack and Tom, had gotten
a notion that the ship was doomed, for, though they worked when they
were ordered, it was in a dull, stolid way, as though they had no
interest in it one way or another. Tom had tried to do all that lay in
him to keep them going, and I think that it was only through his urging
that they were kept at it at all.

So now they all left the pumps and ran to the side of the vessel to get
a look at the sail.

At first it was seen like a flickering speck in the dull, grey
distance, but it presently rose higher and higher as the _Nancy
Hazlewood_ held on her course. Jack Baldwin was on the poop when
the vessel was first sighted; he did not lose a moment, but went
straightway and reported it to the captain, who presently came upon
deck from his cabin. He had wound a red scarf about his waist, and had
thrust a brace of large pistols in it. There was an odd look about
him, that at first led Tom to think that he had been drinking, but he
soon found that he was wrong. Whatever it was that had led him to rig
himself up in this style, it was not drink.

He stood silently with the glass at his eye, looking at the distant
sail that the _Nancy Hazlewood_ was slowly raising above the horizon.
He did not seem to notice that the men had left the pumps; at least
he made no remark upon it. Minute after minute passed, until at last
the hull of the vessel hove in sight and showed her to be a large
barque—apparently, from the cut of her sails, an English merchantman.
She came within about three miles of them, but Captain Knight neither
gave orders to have the course of the _Hazlewood_ altered, or signals
of distress run up. Every moment Tom expected to hear such an order,
but none passed the captain’s lips. Presently, he shut the tube of the
glass sharply, and then he spoke.

“She’s too large for us to tackle in our present condition,” said he.

“Tackle!” burst out Jack. “My G—d! You didn’t think of _fighting_ that
vessel, did you?”

Captain Knight turned sharply upon him, as though he were about to say
something; but he seemed to think better of it, for he swung on his
heel, as though to enter his cabin again.

Then Jack Baldwin strode directly up to him. “Captain Knight,” said he,
and he did not so much as touch his hat, “a’n’t you going to signal
that vessel?”

His voice rang like a bell, and every man aboard of the sinking ship
heard it, and listened eagerly for the captain’s answer. Captain Knight
stood where he was, and looked Jack from top to toe, and back again.

“No, sir,” said he, coldly, “I am not going to signal that vessel.”

“Do you mean to say that you’re going to drown every man aboard this
ship, as you might a cage full of rats, just because you’re too proud
to signal an Englishman.”

Captain Knight made no answer; he only looked at Jack and smiled, and
Tom Granger thought that it was as wicked a smile as he had ever seen
in all of his life.

“Now, by the eternal,” roared Jack, “I’ll run the signals up myself!”

“You’ll do nothing of the kind,” said Captain Knight. He spoke very
quietly, but his face was as white as the other’s was red.

“Won’t I? That you’ll see,” said Jack, passionately, and he made a
movement to turn.

“Wait a moment, sir,” said the captain, in his quiet voice. But the
words were hardly out of his mouth, when, as quick as a flash, a pistol
was leveled at Jack’s head, with a pair of wicked grey eyes behind it.

There was a dead pause for about as long as you could count ten; the
captain’s finger lay on the trigger, and every instant Tom expected to
see the flash that was to come. He held his breath, for there was death
in the captain’s eyes, but he did not draw the trigger.

It was Tom that broke the silence. “For God’s sake, don’t shoot,
captain,” cried he, from where he stood. The captain did not seem to
hear him.

“You mutinous scoundrel,” said he at last, “down on your knees and ask
pardon!”

Jack did not move.

“You hear me? Down on your knees and ask pardon, or you’re a dead man!”

He spoke as quietly as ever, but there was a deadly ring in his voice
for all that.

“I’ll give you till I count three,” said he, at last, and then he began
to count, “one,—two—”

Jack looked around, with despair in his eyes. The captain smiled.
“Stand where you are,” said he, and then his teeth and tongue began to
form the “th—”

Jack Baldwin was no coward; but would you yourself have stood still
and be shot down like a dog? It would have been a brave man indeed—a
foolishly brave man—that would have done such a thing. I will not tell
the rest. It is enough to say that Jack _did_ do that which the captain
ordered him, and that before the whole ship’s company.

“You are wise,” said Captain Knight, dryly, and then he thrust the
pistol back again into his belt, and, turning on his heel, went into
his cabin.

Jack got up slowly from his knees. His face was haggard and drawn. He
looked at no one, but went to the side of the ship and stood gazing
into the water. Tom saw him a half an hour afterward, standing just in
the same way, and in the same place.

When the captain had gone into his cabin, Tom turned to the pumps
again. “Shake her up!—— your eyes! Shake her up!” roared he.

It was the first time that he ever used an oath to the men under him,
and it is hard to tell why he used it then, for in his heart he did not
believe that he was long for this life. Then the men fell to pumping
again, but what little life they had left was all gone out of them now.



CHAPTER VIII.


THAT evening Tom took a scrambling meal in the cuddy; it was the last
that he had aboard of the _Nancy Hazlewood_.

The darkness came on early, and the wind still held as heavy as ever
when night fell. At that time the ship was very low in the water
astern, and Tom did not expect her to live till morning. Even to this
day it is a mystery to him why she did not founder long before she did.

It was plain that even the sailors themselves felt that there was no
hope; they were dull, lifeless and spiritless. Those who were not
working at the pumps, stood around the forecastle, or lay in their
hammocks; all were quiet, excepting where one or two were talking
together in low tones.

Of course, there was no sleep to be had for Tom that night. He
had stood by the pumps since early in the morning, and was nearly
exhausted, for there were times when he could feel the water washing
around his waist. One after another the men would drop the brakes,
altogether done up, but there was no chance for him to leave his
station and get a little rest. Jack had done nothing since his
encounter with Captain Knight, the afternoon before. Captain Knight
himself did not come out of his cabin, so Tom seemed to be the only
officer in charge of the ship.

“Shake her up, lads! Shake her up!” cried he, whenever there were signs
of flagging at the pumps, and he repeated these words so often that he
began to say them mechanically.

So the weary night dragged slowly along, and at last the dull light of
the morning came, and the _Nancy Hazlewood_ was still afloat. One by
one the things stood out in the pallid light of the dawning; first of
all the black troubled field of water was seen, sharply marked against
the slowly greying sky; then came a faint light across the flooded
deck, against which the men stood out as black as ink, as they worked
at the pumps.

About eight o’clock in the morning Captain Knight came upon deck again.
He, Jack Baldwin, Mr. Wilde (the surgeon), the boatswain and one or two
of the men were standing on the poop together. No attention was paid to
these men standing aft the quarter deck, and Tom could not see that any
orders were given, for the helm was lashed, keeping the vessel before
the wind.

Tom left the pumps for a minute or two, and slipped into the cuddy for
a dram of rum, which he very much needed. He found that the cuddy was
awash with several inches of water. He took the dram of rum, and then
looking around his state room he saw his sea-chest, and opened it and
took out his watch and purse. He slipped the watch into his pocket, but
the ship giving a sudden lurch at the time, he dropped his purse. He
smiled when he found himself groping in the swashing water for it, for
he could not take it with him where he expected that he would have to
go.

The men had left the pumps when he came upon deck again. A crowd of
them were standing foreward, some on the top-gallant forecastle.
There was no drunkenness amongst them, and Tom found later that the
spirit-room had been fastened securely, and in good time, which was
about the only timely thing that was done in the whole business. He did
not order them to work again, for there could be no use in it. Indeed,
there had been but little use in it for some time past, and the only
reason that he had kept the pumps going was because it seemed better to
be doing something than to stand still, waiting for death. But Captain
Knight gave no orders to lower the boats, and Jack Baldwin did not seem
to care whether they were lowered or not.

At this time there were only two boats left. The whale-boat had been
stove in the night before, and all of the cutters were gone but one. A
part of one of them was hanging by the stern falls from the davits. The
mate to it was good, however, and, with a pinnace, capable of holding
maybe thirty men at a pinch, was all that was left of the six boats
that the _Nancy Hazlewood_ had carried with her when she first started
on her cruise.

Tom saw that there was no prospect of Captain Knight’s giving the
order to have the boats cleared away, so he went aft to the poop, where
the captain stood, and touched his hat to him very respectfully.

“Captain Knight,” said he, “the ship’s sinking, and I can’t keep the
men at their work any longer. Shall I get the boats cleared away?”

“They won’t work, you say?”

“No, sir.”

The captain took a pinch of snuff. “Then let ’em drown, and be d—d to
’em—the mutinous dogs,” said he. And he shut the snuff-box lid with a
snap.

“But, captain—” began Tom.

“Mr. Granger,” said the captain, sternly, “I wish to hear no more. When
I want to have the boats lowered I’ll give the orders, and not till
then. You hear me?”

Tom turned away, sick at heart. He still hoped that the captain meant
to have the boats cleared away, but in his heart he felt that he
intended nothing of the kind. The men had gathered aft when they saw
that Tom was talking to the captain. When they heard what came of it, a
deep groan arose from them.

About half an hour passed, and nothing was done. At the end of that
time a number of men who had been talking together, went over to the
pinnace and began clearing it away, and Tom saw that they were about to
lower it.

Nothing was said to them at the time, and no one interfered with them.
He went forward to where they were at work, after a while, for he felt
that he might be of some use to them. The boatswain was amongst them,
and he asked him to join them, as they needed an officer. But Tom shook
his head, for he could not bring himself to leave the ship. It was
false pride on his part, for he should have gone and have done what he
could. If Jack Baldwin would only have lent a hand with the other boat,
he would not have hesitated, I think.

Well, it was a misfortunate piece of business, and there is no use in
making more of it than need be. The boat was lowered safely enough;
but, in spite of all that Tom could do, a number of the crew, maybe
thirty or more, jumped into her from the ship, and she was swamped
almost immediately. Most of the men came climbing back again; but, to
the best of Tom’s recollection, eight or ten of them were drowned at
this time. No one but he seemed to care very much for this; no doubt
they felt that it was only a question of a few minutes, earlier or
later.

When Tom went back to the poop, Captain Knight met him with a sneering
smile. “You had better have let the matter alone, Mr. Granger,” said
he; “their blood be on your head.”

Now, Tom had put all the restraint upon himself that he could. He had
felt all the blunders and mismanagement that had brought them to this
pass as deeply as ever Jack Baldwin could have done, and had also felt
that most of the fault lay at Captain Knight’s door, but he had never
been anything but respectful to the captain, nor had he ever let a
questionable word pass his lips. But now, feeling the loss of the poor
devils that had been drowned in the pinnace resting heavily on his
mind, this speech was too much for his patience. He walked straight up
to Captain Knight and looked him squarely in the eyes.

The captain looked back at him for a little while, but presently his
eyes wavered, and he turned them aside. Then it was that a certain
vague thought that had been floating about in Tom’s mind, took shape
and form. At first he rejected the thought, but the longer he looked
upon Captain Knight the more he felt sure that his surmise was right.
At last he spoke:

“Look here, sir,” said he, sternly, “you’re not fit to be where you
are. You’re not in your right mind—you’re crazy.”

Captain Knight looked up. His face was white and his eyes uncertain,
and, for the first time, Tom noticed how bloodshot they were. Tom was
standing within arm’s length of him, and presently he saw that his
fingers were sliding furtively toward the pistol in his belt. Tom kept
his eyes fixed upon him.

“Take care,” said he, as quietly as he could, “don’t touch that pistol.”

Then Captain Knight drew his fingers away. “You mutinous scoundrel!”
whispered he, in a trembling voice. But he did not look directly at Tom
when he spoke; neither did he again attempt to draw a pistol.

Tom stood looking at him without a word for maybe half a minute. He
felt that if he turned his eyes away for so much as a second, he was a
dead man. So he stood without moving. At last he spoke again:

“Captain Knight, give me that pistol.”

The captain looked from side to side.

“Captain Knight, give me that pistol,” he repeated, and very sternly.
He held out his left hand as he spoke. His right was clenched, and if
the captain had made a dangerous movement, he would have smitten him
down where he stood. Captain Knight looked up for an instant. He must
have seen the resolve in Tom’s face, for he slowly drew out the pistol
and put it into his hand.

“Now give me the other,” said Tom. And once more the captain did as he
was bidden. Tom went to the side of the ship and threw both pistols
overboard. When he turned around the captain had gone into his cabin.
Tom never saw him again.

It was not till all was over that he felt what he had passed through.
So long as he had faced the captain his purpose had kept him braced to
what he was doing, but now his hands were cold and trembling nervously.

All of the ship’s crew had been looking on at what had passed, so he
tried to appear as cool as though nothing of any account had happened.
He went up to where Jack Baldwin was standing. “Jack,” said he (but his
voice trembled a little in spite of himself), “you’re the chief officer
now. For the Lord’s sake, give orders to get the cutter cleared away,
for there’s no time to lose.”

“I’ll give orders when I choose,” said Jack, roughly, and he swung on
his heel and strode away.

Tom was struck all aback, for he could not think at first what he had
done to touch Jack’s feelings. Presently Jack came back to him again.
He stopped close in front of him, and folded his arms.

“Look’ee, Tom Granger,” said he, “I suppose you think that because you
got the better of that d—d sea dandy, you can get the better of me. You
needn’t think that you’re the cock-of-the-walk because you took the
barkers away from him. I could have done it easy enough, if he hadn’t
taken me unawares. I’ll not deny that you _did_ get the better of him,
but I want you to understand that you’re not to lord it over me on that
account. I’m the chief officer here, and I’ll give my orders to you,
and not take them from you. So put that in your pipe and smoke it.”
Then he turned on his heel again and walked away.

But Tom had caught some insight into Jack’s mind, and he could not
but feel a certain contempt for him, for this was no time for little
jealousies and heart-burnings. He did not say anything to Jack, for
there could be no use in answering such a speech, so he walked to the
mizzen-mast without a word, and stood leaning against it, looking
ahead. All of a sudden Jack went stumbling down the ladder from
the poop, and forward amongst the men. Tom saw him a little while
afterward, talking to the boatswain, and then he knew that he was
thinking of lowering the cutter. He was glad that Jack had so far
swallowed his ugly pride, for it was a pity that all of the men aboard
of the ship should drown, when some of them might get safely away.

I say that he was glad, but there was a bitter feeling, too, when he
thought of others being saved, while he was to be left to drown like
a rat in a box. His pride would not let him run away from the ship to
take his chance in the cutter, but, all the same, his thoughts were
very bitter. About this time he saw that those of the crew not at work
about the cutter were throwing many loose things overboard. He saw the
side of a hen-coop near to the ship; “I shall keep close to something
of that kind when she goes down,” said he to himself. They were a good
hundred miles from land, but the thought did not seem as foolish to him
then as it does now, for a man clings to his life as long as he is able.

Presently, Jack Baldwin came aft. He went to the lashings of the wheel
and put the helm over, so as to give the cutter a lee, but he never
looked at Tom for a moment. Just as he was about to leave the poop,
however, he turned suddenly, and came straight across the deck to him.

“Tom,” said he, gruffly; “will you take a try in the cutter?”

“Not I,” said Tom.

“Why not?”

“One officer’s enough for the boat; it would be cowardly for me to go!”
He spoke bravely enough, but I am compelled to own that his courage was
only of words, and not of heart.

“Look’ee, Tom Granger,” said Jack, fiercely; “do you mean to say that
I’m a coward?”

“I mean to say nothing about you,” said Tom, calmly; “you know your own
reasons for leaving the ship better than any other man. If you’re going
for the sake of the crew, you’re no coward; if you’re going for the
sake of your own skin, you are.”

Jack looked him very hard in the face for a moment or two. “See here,
Tom,” said he, at last; “you know the old saying;—‘each man for
himself, and the devil take the hindmost;’ don’t be a fool; go with us,
you’re a better hand at managing a boat than I am.”

“I don’t care to go.”

“Very well, my hearty; suit yourself,” was all that Jack said, and he
swung on his heel, and left the poop.

Tom saw him a little later standing beside the cutter with a heavy iron
belaying pin in his hand, so as to keep the men from crowding into the
boat. The men had a great notion of Jack’s strength, and maybe it was
this that kept them back, for Tom saw no movement in that direction.

About five or ten minutes before the cutter was lowered, and about
half-past ten or eleven o’clock in the morning of Thursday, the 26th,
the ship was slowly settling by the stern. Any one could see that
there was a great change in the last half of an hour, and Tom began to
be afraid that she would founder before they could get the boat away.
He went forward to where Jack and the men were busy at work.

“If you don’t lower away pretty soon, it’ll be too late, Jack,” said he.

“Tom,” said Jack, turning to him, suddenly, “don’t be a bull-headed
loon in such a matter as this. Come, and take your chance like a man;
there’s a place in the cutter yet, for I’ve taken care to save it for
you.”

Poor Tom was only a mortal man, and his life was very sweet to him at
that moment, when there seemed so great a chance of his losing it.
Therefore, he could not screw the words of refusal from his lips;—he
could only shake his head.

“You won’t come?” said Jack.

“No!” roared Tom; “didn’t you hear me say no? Are you deaf? No! I tell
you; no! no!!”

“Now, by the eternal, you shall go, and that whether you want to or
not!” said Jack, and as he spoke, he flung his arms around Tom, and
undertook to drag him into the boat. Jack had never measured his
strength with Tom before, and it is altogether likely that he found him
to be stronger than he had any notion of, for, after struggling with
him for a little while, and not being able to throw him down upon the
deck, he presently began singing out to the boatswain to come and lend
him a hand, as there was no time to lose. So the boatswain came, and
in a short time they had lashed Tom’s arms and legs so that he could
not move. As soon as they had done this, they heaved him heels over
head into the cutter, and then stepped in themselves, and all hands
lowered away immediately.

As soon as the boat was in the water, it began drawing under the
channel of the ship, and was in great peril of being stove, but the
boatswain and two others got out oars, and shoved her off. But no
sooner had they pushed the cutter away, than she began drawing in
again, for there was a suction that was bringing her right under the
stern, which would have been sudden death to every man in her, so they
brought the oars to bear once more. At that time the crew of the cutter
seemed more afraid of being drawn under the stern of the ship than of
too many men jumping into the boat; for the matter of that, Tom saw
only one attempt to keep any of the crew from boarding, and that was
just after the boat had been lowered into the water.

A poor fellow attempted to slide down the falls from the davits, but
the boatswain pushed them to one side, so that he would have fallen
into the water if he had tried to jump. It seemed to Tom to be a
horrible thing to cut away the last chance that the poor man had for
saving his life; he begged hard for him as he hung from the davits, but
the boatswain said that the cutter was already full, and that even one
man might be enough to swamp her. I suppose that the boatswain must
have acted according to his light, but Jack Baldwin, who sat looking on
without speaking, should have seen that the man was taken aboard.

The second time that the boat was pushed away, its head came around,
and they were soon pulling from the port side of the ship.

When those aboard of the _Nancy Hazlewood_ saw that the cutter was
clear, and was likely to get away, they cheered and waved their hands.
I can hardly bear to write of this, even now;—it made Tom Granger cry
like a child.

The boatswain sat next to him where he lay. He chewed hard at the quid
of tobacco in his mouth, as, lying on his oars, he looked back at the
sinking ship, and at his messmates standing on her decks. I think, from
what some of the sailors afterward said, that they would have been
willing to put back to the ship, and have taken off a parcel more of
the crew, but nothing of the kind was done.

So every one lay on his oars and looked back; just then the sun shone
out, pale and watery. Tom could see the vessel very easily from where
he lay. The fore-top sail was still standing, and also half of the
main-top sail. The yards on the mizzen were swinging about with the
braces loose, and her bulwarks were as sound as when she left the
docks. Her stern was low in the water, and her bow was standing so high
that her red copper bottom could be plainly seen.

Soon they ran down into the trough of a sea, and the _Nancy Hazlewood_
was hidden from sight; when they came up again, she had changed her
position. They could not see the after-part of the vessel, though it
might have been hidden by a sea, and not under water. By the pitch of
her masts the ship seemed to be sitting at an angle of about forty-five
degrees. Just then another sea came, and again they ran down in the
trough of it;—when they came up the _Nancy Hazlewood_ was nowhere to be
seen.



CHAPTER IX.


FOR a time no one in the cutter moved or said a word. I remember that
the boatswain chewed at his quid of tobacco as though he was starving;
but he did not speak a word.

It was Jack Baldwin’s voice that broke the silence.

“The old ship’s gone, boys,” roared he. “We can’t do her any good, so
drop her, and mind what you’re about, or you’ll be with her before you
know it.” And he was right, for the cutter was heavily loaded, there
being nineteen aboard of her—the right number of her crew was twelve.

I am bound to say, that I believe if any one of the crew of the _Nancy
Hazlewood_ had been seen clinging to the loose gear that was floating
about the place where the ship foundered they would have been taken
into the cutter; but no one was seen, nor was it likely that a man
could keep afloat for any length of time, for the spray was flying.

Such was the loss of the good ship _Nancy Hazlewood_, the story of
which I have tried to tell you just as it happened, adding nothing
and keeping nothing back that might give you a clear idea of how she
foundered on that Thursday, the 26th of April, 1813.

It was judged that she went down in latitude 27° North, by longitude
77° West, and about one hundred or one hundred and ten miles north of
the Little Bahama Banks.

The cutter was a fine, light boat, about twenty-five feet in length, by
six feet in breadth at the widest part—a small craft to carry nineteen
souls one hundred miles through a stormy sea.

Ten minutes after the _Nancy Hazlewood_ foundered the crew of the
cutter were pulling away to the southward. After a little while Tom
looked up and saw that Jack Baldwin was gazing very earnestly at him.

“Tom,” said he, suddenly, “if I loose the lashings on your arms and
legs, will you promise to be quiet, and do your fair share of work?”

Tom’s cheeks were still wet, and he was shaken every now and then by a
sob. I hope that you who read this will not think him overly womanish,
but will give a thought as to how broken he was with fatigue, and with
the hardships through which he had passed. I can say that none of the
crew of the cutter seemed to think lightly of him on account of it, and
even Jack Baldwin’s voice was kind as he spoke.

I have always found that when men are strongly moved they are apt to be
very unreasonable. So it was with Tom, for he felt very bitterly toward
Jack at that moment, as though Jack were to blame for the trouble that
had fallen upon them. However, nothing could be gained by staying tied
as he was, so he presently said:

“You may untie me, if you like. The Lord knows that I don’t care much
for my life just now, but there’s no use letting all these poor fellows
drown like the rest.”

“Is that all the thanks I get for saving your life?” said Jack Baldwin.
“Never mind; you’ll give me more thanks when your feet are safe on dry
land. Untie him, bo’sen, for he’ll have to take his hand at the oars,
along with the rest.”

The first thing that was done was to divide the boat’s crew into
parties, each of which were to row by spells. Two of the men not
rowing were to keep a lookout ahead, in case any vessel might heave in
sight. The rest were to bail out the boat, for it was needful to keep
bailing nearly all the time. In most cases it might have been safer to
have tried to ride out the storm, and to have run the chance of being
picked up by some passing vessel; but there were certain things to be
considered in the case of those in the cutter. Their provisions and
water were none too plenty, and there was little chance of being picked
up, as so few vessels were sailing in those waters, excepting in fleets
and under convoy.

A landsman would have been puzzled to know how a boat as small as the
cutter could ever hope to live in a sea such as that was. It was,
indeed, no small matter to run her safely, and Jack, who was at the
tiller, had to keep his weather eye lifting, I can tell you.

One of the crew kept a constant lookout over the stern, to see when a
wave with a crest was coming, and to warn the man at the tiller of it,
for these were the seas that brought danger with them. At one time all
hands would back water, so as to let such a one break in front of them.
At another time they would pull all, so as to get out of the way until
the force of the broken sea was spent. Sometimes one of these following
seas would fling the cutter high aloft on its crest, carrying it along
like an eggshell for a little distance, and giving them a dash as it
went by that would set them all bailing for dear life.

Of course, it was needful to let each sea meet them fairly astern, for
if the boat should broach too, she would be swamped or capsized as
quick as a wink. As soon as one sea would pass them another would come.
Perhaps it would be a cross sea, which, of course, was the kind that
they dreaded the most of all. Sometimes the helm of the cutter could
not bring her around quickly enough, or, maybe, just then her rudder
would be clear of the water. Then Jack Baldwin would sing out in his
mighty voice:

“Give way starboard! Back port!” or “Give way port! back starboard!”

The next moment, perhaps, another green sea would be seen rushing at
them, and Jack would shout:

“Give way together!”

Then there would be a thunder and a roar behind them, and the seething
of white foam would hiss alongside of the gunwale, and as it rolled
past Jack’s voice would ring out:

“Back, back all!”

There were times when all four of these orders would be given inside
the space of a minute. This is what they went through for nearly two
days, so it may perhaps give you a notion of what they had to do to
keep the boat alive for that time, and what a sea it was to keep her
alive in.

They had in the way of provisions about seventy-five pounds of
hard-tack and two small breakers of water. They presently found that
the water in one of the breakers was mixed with salt, so they heaved it
overboard at once to make more room, as they were very much crowded.

So the afternoon wore along, and at last evening began to settle down
over them.

Any one but a seaman might have wondered how the boat was to be kept
afloat at night, when it was only by such unending care that she was
kept alive in the daytime. But as darkness settled the crest of each
wave glimmered with a pale phosphorescence that not only showed its
position, but the course in which it was traveling. Nevertheless, it
was an awful night, one of the most awful that Tom Granger has ever
passed through. Above the ceaseless din and thunder of the roaring
water Jack Baldwin’s voice could be heard singing out his orders to
the oarsmen, and now and then to the others:

“Bail her out smartly, lads! Keep her dry! Who’s bailing there? Lively
now!”

Tom had turned to, and was bailing a great part of the time. He had
been pulling an oar in the afternoon, for every one had to take his
turn; and so, what with weariness and cold and want of sleep, he was
nearly done up. He managed to joke and laugh with the men, as though
all that they were passing through was nothing to speak of; but for
all that he would find himself half asleep at times, though he was
still dipping out the water. When in this state he always had one
thing before his eyeballs; it was a ship, her stern under water and
her bows standing so high that she showed her copper bottom. Her
maintop-gallant-mast was gone, and her fore-sail was shaking in the
wind—it was the _Nancy Hazlewood_ as he had last seen her.

It was the same all that night; whenever he would shut his eyes, even
if it were only for a moment, he would see that sinking ship and the
troubled waters around her.

About four o’clock in the morning Jack gave up the tiller to Tom
Granger. Tom felt very sorry for him, for he seemed harassed and worn.
He himself was pretty well tired out, as I have said, for he had only
had about two hours sleep for over three days. Nevertheless, he took
the tiller, for Jack seemed more done up than he. Tom held the tiller
for the rest of that day, and for most of the next night.

Early in the day it was found that the water had given out, so they
heaved that breaker overboard also. There was a great mistake somewhere
in the matter of this water. Either the allowance for each man was
wrong, or there was not as much in the breaker as had been supposed.
They had counted on its lasting eighteen hours longer than it did,
and the lack of it proved to be one of the greatest causes of their
suffering.

The next morning the sun shone out, though the weather was squally, and
the sea as heavy as ever. By that time they were suffering more from
thirst than from anything else. Tom pitied the poor men from the bottom
of his heart. The boatswain, who sat nearest him, kept clearing his
throat, as though he could get rid of the dryness and the pain in that
way.

As the sharpness of their thirst increased, the men showed that there
was not the friendly feeling between them that there had been at first.
They were surly, would speak sharply to one another, and were sullen
when spoken to by Jack or Tom. About nine o’clock one of the men on the
lookout sang out all of a sudden:

“Land over the port bow!”

Jack had the tiller again at this time, and it was all that Tom could
do to keep the men from standing up in the boat. If they had done so,
they would have capsized her, in all likelihood. About a quarter of an
hour afterward they were near enough to hear the surf thundering on the
beach. Some of the men were for landing off-hand, and both Jack and Tom
found it hard work to keep these fellows in order.

Tom thought that the land in front of them was most likely one of the
smaller islands at the northern part of the Bahama group. A line of
white sand-hills, topped by a growth of coarse grass and low scrub
bushes, could be seen a little distance inland. The shore stretched
northerly and southerly, and looking from the seaward, they could see
no break in it.

Jack put the boat’s head to the southward, so as to keep the seas
pretty well to the stern, his idea being to run along the coast line
until he could either turn the end of the island, or find some creek or
inlet where there would be a fit place to beach the cutter.

There was a current setting up the beach, and it was very laborious
work pulling against it, so, as time went on, the men grumbled louder
and louder, saying that they might just as well land where they were,
and that there was no use breaking their hearts with rowing, while they
might beach the boat, with only a ducking at the worst.

Tom was more sorry for the men, than angry at them, for any one could
see how parched they were with thirst, and how nearly worn out.

At last a sailor named Hitch flung down his oar, and swore that he
would row no more, without it was to row to the shore. An approving
growl went up amongst the men, and things began to take a very ugly
look. Jack was in a towering rage; he swore at the men, as only he
could swear; but every moment showed that they could not be kept at
their oars a great while longer.

Meantime the man Hitch sat sullenly, answering Jack’s words with others
not a bit better.

“Tom,” roared Jack, all of a sudden; “Tom, come here and take this
tiller, while I settle that mutinous son of a sea cook.”

He made a step forward as he spoke, but in a moment the man’s fingers
were around the boat’s plug.

“You’ll settle me, will you?” cried he. “— — your eyes! Come a step
furder, and I’ll out with this plug, and send us all to the bottom,
with the boat under us!”

Jack stopped where he was, for he saw that the fellow would do as he
said; had he done so, the boat would have filled and gone down in a
minute.

When Jack stopped, a laugh went up from all around, for it was plain to
see that the men were in sympathy with Hitch. This made the fellow feel
inclined to go a step further, for he felt bold when he saw Jack pause.

“If you don’t put the boat’s head to the shore,” said he, “I’ll pull
out the plug, anyhow!”

“Tom,” cried Jack, passionately, “give me the tiller; if they will
drown for a pack of lubberly fools, let them drown and be ——d!”

“For heaven’s sake, Jack!” cried Tom; “think what you’re about. You’ll
drown us all. Let me hold the tiller!”

But Jack was blind and deaf with his passion, and would listen to
nothing. Tom struggled with him as long as he was able; holding on to
the tiller with might and main, fighting him off, and pleading with him
all the while.

I suppose that they must have fought for two or three minutes, and the
boat was nearly swamped more than once with their struggles. At last
Jack wrenched Tom’s hands away and seized hold of the tiller, for a
great part of Tom’s strength had gone from him, because of long and
hard exposure, which seemed to have told more upon him than on Jack.

The men appeared to be pretty well frightened by this time, and Hitch
had taken his oar again. In a moment Jack had put the boat’s head
toward the shore.

“Pull lively now, my hearties,” said he, grimly, “for you’ll have a
tough pull of it before you get to that beach over yonder.”

Just before they came to the outer line of breakers, Jack put the
cutter’s head about so as to let her beach stern foremost.

Tom knew that the cutter would never get through the breakers. There
was not the tenth part of the tenth part of a chance of it; therefore
he flung off his coat and kicked off his shoes, so as to be in
readiness when the time should come. There was not much of the raging
and the lashing of the surf to be seen from the sea. Now and then a
spit of foamy water would shoot high up into the air from the recoil
of the waters on the hard sand, but they could not tell what the full
wrath and roaring of the great breakers were until they had gotten
fairly in amongst them.

Jack did all that a man could do to get that boat to the beach. He
tried rather to keep it off than to urge it too rapidly toward the
shore. He did his work well, for he had brought the cutter through the
first line of breakers, and into the second—but he got her no further.

A monstrous wave, fully twelve feet high, a solid mountain of green
water, came rushing toward them, its crest growing sharper and sharper,
and seeming to mount higher and higher as it swept toward the shore.

“Pull for your lives!” roared Jack, in a voice of thunder. But it was
no use, for the next instant the breaker was on them. For a moment
Tom had a feeling of spinning toward the shore, with the green water
towering ten feet above him; then it arched slowly over, there was a
crash and a roar, and he was struggling in a whirling, watery blindness.

Over and over he rolled, grasping at the sand every now and then, but
all the time feeling himself as helpless as a rat in the tumultuous
swirling of the water. Presently he felt himself being sucked out
again. Faster and faster he went, as the undertow gathered force in its
rush. For a moment he gained his feet, and bore with all his strength
against the outgoing water. The sand slid from beneath his heels,
till he must have sunk three inches into it. For an instant he had a
half-blinded vision of Jack Baldwin, fifteen or twenty feet nearer to
the shore than himself. Then came another crashing roar, and he was
whirled over and over and round and round, like a feather in the water.
A great feeling of utter helplessness came over him; for a moment his
lips came to the surface and he gave a gurgling cry.

Out went the undertow again, and out went Tom with it, only to meet
another breaker and to be again whirled by it toward the beach. By this
time he had given up struggling, and everything was sliding away from
him.

All of a sudden he felt himself clutched by the shirt. Once more came
the horrible dragging of the undertow, but this time some one was
holding him against it. Everything was glimmering to his sight, but he
felt that he was being dragged up on the beach, and at last that he was
lying on the dry sand, face up, and Jack Baldwin panting alongside of
him.



PART II



CHAPTER X.


IN this story of Tom Granger I have undertaken to divide that which
I am writing into chapters and parts, in the same manner that novel
writers sometimes divide their novels and tales. I find that it keeps
me more steadily to my course, so that, though I wander now and then
from the matter in hand, I always get safely back to my bearings again.
If you will go with me to the end, you will find that I have spun my
yarn to the last word, though it may be in my own fashion.

Every one has read tales of shipwreck and of lonely islands, and there
is generally something romantic and even pleasant in them; but in real
shipwreck there is nothing either romantic or pleasant; neither is a
desert island a cheerful place to dwell upon. I say this because I wish
you to understand why it is that I do not intend to give you a long
account of the life that they led at this place.

Nevertheless, I would not have you think from that which I have just
written that Tom and Jack were altogether miserable during the year
and a half that they lived there. Many times they were sick at heart
looking for the aid that was so long in coming; but there were other
times when they were full of hopes, and times when they were even
happy. Neither was the place a barren, desolate, dreary sand waste,
such as are many of the Bahama Islands. They saw many curious and
beautiful things during the time of their living there. As an instance
I may say that when Tom came away he brought with him a parcel of as
handsome shells as ever I saw in all my life. They are now piled upon
the mantle-shelf in my parlor. I have them before my eyes as I write
these words. There is a large one upon the centre-table that has a
full-rigged ship wrought upon it. It was carved with a jack-knife, and
it shows the work of many idle moments, when Tom sat beside the fire in
front of their hut at night, with Jack Baldwin for company.

Oftentimes a great longing has come upon Tom to visit the old place
once more, and to see those things again which he learned to know so
well. As I sit here now, and close my eyes, I can see many of them with
my inward sight. I can even see them more clearly than when the memory
of them was fresh and green, for, as the eyes of one’s body become
dim and blurred, the eyes of memory become ever sharper and keener,
so that not even the smallest thing escapes their sight. So now I can
see the place that was Tom’s home for sixteen months so long ago, as
plainly as though I had left it only yesterday. I can see the cave in
the side of the sand-hill, the cutter turned bottom up for the roof,
and the screen of woven grass that hung in front to keep the rain from
beating in. I can even see the tame sea-gull sitting on the keel of the
upturned boat.

Oftentimes, as I sit smoking my pipe after my dinner, I slide off into
a doze, and sometimes I dream of all these places—of the sand-spit
where they found the half-buried wreck that brought them so strange a
fortune; of the long, narrow tongue of sand beyond, where, at low tide,
the flamingoes always stood in a line, like so many red-coated British
soldiers; of the coral reef where they fished; of the beach where the
turtles came to drop their eggs, and of other things, all of them
seeming pleasant as I look at them down through the distance of the
past. So I should like to see the old place once more with my mortal
eyes, though I may never hope to do so now, for my sands are nearly run.

But, though the place may seem pleasant to me after all these years, it
was not an island such as one reads of in novels and stories; it was
not a place upon which one would choose to live all one’s years, and
Tom Granger was tired enough of it before he got through with it, I can
tell you.

My neighbors profess to be very fond of listening to me when I get
started in upon spinning yarns about Tom Granger’s life on the island,
and I think that not only do they profess to be fond of it, but that
they really are so.

My dear old friend, the late Doctor White, used to come regularly
every Saturday night, winter or summer, clear or foul, and the first
thing that he would say was:

“Come, Tom, spin us a yarn;” or, “Let us hear one of your traveler’s
lies, Tom.” (This, you understand, was merely a piece of pleasantry
upon his part.) Then straightway I would begin upon some yarn, while he
would sit opposite to me across the fire, listening to me and smoking
his pipe the while. I must say, though, that he had a nasty habit of
interrupting me with experiences of his own, for he had been assistant
surgeon aboard the _Pimlico_, in the South Atlantic, from 1836 to 1838,
and he had seen a few little trivial things which he would tell me,
though I had heard them a score of times before, and though they were
not nearly as interesting as those things which I would be telling him.

However, that is neither here nor there, and I find that I am again
wandering from the point in hand. What I began to say was, that, though
my neighbors are always glad to listen to my yarns, and though they
tell me that they are both interesting and instructive, I will not give
a long and full account of Tom’s and Jack’s daily life upon the island
on which they were cast, for this narrative concerns other matters of
more import, and I thank my stars that I am able to bridle my tongue,
being, as I said before, no great talker.

Tom and Jack were the only ones of all the crew of the cutter that
were cast alive on the island. The first day or two of their life
thereon was as bitter and miserable as could be. All this would be both
painful and unpleasant to tell, as well as needless, and, therefore, I
will pass it by. By the time that a month had gone, they were settled
as comfortably as could be, considering what they had at hand to make
themselves comfortable.

The body of the island was about five miles in length, and about two
miles or two miles and a half in breadth at the widest part. From the
lower and easterly end a long, sandy hook ran out into the ocean. It
was the continuation of the eastern beach, and, with the south shore of
the island, it enclosed a smooth, deep bay or harbor, in which even the
largest ships could have ridden at anchor easily and comfortably.

On the Atlantic side of this sand-spit, and close to where it joined
the body of the island, was the sunken wreck that afterward had so much
to do with Tom’s fortunes, and of which I shall soon have more to tell
you. The eastern side of this hook or beach was of sloping sand, washed
up by the continual beating of the surf. The western, or bay side, was
an abrupt coral reef. This coral reef was covered with barnacles, so
that there were always plenty of fish to be caught along that shore
during the slack water or the young flood.

Up and down the length of the eastern shore, and following in a line
with the beach, was a ridge of white sand hills. A number of scrub
trees grew along the crest of this ridge, and it was these trees
or bushes that the lookout in the cutter had first sighted. In the
south-western end of these sand hills Jack and Tom built their hut.

The lower end of the chain of white hills made a sudden turn to the
westward, and not far from where they fell away to the level of the
beach was a thicket of underbrush, with half a dozen palmetto trees
growing in the midst of it. Near to the edge of this thicket a spring
of clear, cool water bubbled up out of the white sand, and slid away
through thick grasses and sedge until it found its way through a marshy
little flat into the bay.

It was close to this spot that they chose to live, and thither they
dragged the cutter from the place where she had been flung on the
sand, two or three miles further up the beach. The boat had been stove
in beyond all hopes of repairing, especially as they had no tools to
mend it with, excepting their jack-knives and two rude chisels that
Tom afterward made from rusty bolts which they picked out of the ribs
of the wreck on the sand-spit. But, even if they had had a whole
boat-builder’s outfit, and planks to spare, I doubt if the cutter could
have been mended, for not only had the bottom been stove in, but the
bow had been smashed into splinters.

The loss of the cutter was one of their bitterest sources of regret
during their life on this place, for now and then they could see the
looming of land not more than twenty miles away toward the southward.
They could easily have reached it in a day’s time, if the boat had
been sound and whole. As it was, she would never float again, so they
dragged her down the beach and patched her with grass and mud, and used
her for a roof to cover them at night, for they found that the dews
were heavy at some seasons of the year. It took them over a fortnight
to move the boat from where she had been thrown to the place where they
built their home, three miles away. It was heavy work hauling it across
the sand, but, as I said, by the time that a month had gone, they were
pretty comfortably settled, and were feeling quite at home in their
quarters.

In front of them was the long, narrow hook of white sand, over which
the air danced and quivered when the hot sun beat down upon it. It
curved out into the dark water for a mile, like a long, slender hook,
cutting off the bay from the open water beyond. To the right of them
was the bay shore of the island, the silvery sand strewn thickly with
many-colored shells as far as the eye could reach. About three hundred
yards away was the buried wreck. At that time nothing was to be seen of
it but the ribs, that just showed above the sand like a row of dead,
blackened stumps. From this wreck they obtained iron spikes, which Tom
fashioned into rude tools and ruder fish-hooks.

Such was the scene that they had before their eyes for all those
sixteen months, unchanged, excepting as storm or calm would change
the face of things; and the same monotonous sound was always in
their ears—the eternal “swash! swash!” of the ground swell on the
shell-strewn beach below the hut, sounding unceasingly through the
deep, heavy thundering of the Atlantic breakers to the eastward.

Day followed day in an unchanging round—now fishing and now hunting
gull’s eggs. The fishing was done in the morning, when the tide was
good. During the hot afternoons they would lie on the sand, in the
shade of the cutter, looking out to sea, talking lazily, and now and
then dozing. It was a helpless, listless life, and as time wore along,
I doubt if they would have known what day or month or even what year it
was, if Tom had not kept a score of the days as they passed, by marking
them on the side of the cutter with his jack-knife—a short mark for
week days and a long mark with a cross for Sundays. By this means they
contrived to know how time was going with them.

This enforced inaction was one of the bitterest trials to them. I have
known times when, while they were sitting still, Jack would burst out
into a sudden volley of imprecations. Tom would never give way in this
manner;—perhaps it would have been a relief to him if he had. When the
darkness of despair would settle over him, he would leave Jack, and
walk up and down the beach by himself; perhaps for hours at a time.
During all the time that the _Nancy Hazlewood_ was sinking under him,
Tom had thought little of Patty, and had wondered at himself in a dull
sort of a way; perhaps it was the press of work that was then upon
him, that drove her out of his mind, or rather blunted the keenness
of the thought of her. But now, in the listless idleness of his life,
he thought of her, and thought of her continually. Her presence was
always with him, and at times his longing for her was so deep and
keen, that his heart ached with it. Often in the night time he would
lie on the dark, lonely sand, looking up at the stars, saying nothing,
but thinking of Patty and of his home, with a longing so strong, that
sometimes he was nearly crazy with the yearning of his home-sickness.
At other times the gloominess of a deep despair would settle over him
in a dark cloud; then, perhaps, he would say to himself, “Supposing
that I do get back to my home again, what good will it do me? I have
been given a year in which to earn seven hundred and fifty dollars; it
may be two years before I am taken off of this sand spit,—what chance
is there of my earning that much here?” Then, maybe he would get up and
walk away, pacing up and down the beach by himself, cursing the fortune
that had thrown him on this land, and sometimes even selfishly wishing
that he could die, and be rid of all the troubles that beset him.
During such moods Jack would leave him alone, for he saw that Tom was
thinking of things, and was not to be talked to or interfered with;—he
had grown to have a strangely high regard and respect for him; very
different from the way in which he used to look upon him. He seemed to
have a dim idea that Tom’s troubles were deeper than his own, but why
they were greater, he did not know, for Tom never talked of Patty to
him. So Jack always let him alone, and, though he would follow him with
his eyes, he never ventured a word at such times.

I would not have you think that Tom was twiddling his thumbs all this
time, and idly wishing that he could get away without doing anything
further than to wish.

During the fall they built a raft; it took them nearly a month and
a half to make it, for they had no tools to work with, but two rude
chisels and two jack-knives, one of which (Jack’s) had the point broken
off of it. But after they had spent all the time in the making of the
raft, it turned out to be of no use, excepting to fish off of in the
bay during fair weather, so all their labor was for nothing.

They had great ideas of it at first, and one day when the wind was
fair, and the day clear and bright, they undertook to sail away upon it
to the island to the southward. Tom had fashioned a pair of oars out
of a palmetto tree, and he and Jack had made a sail out of the coarse
sea-grass that covered the island; these had cost them vast labor, but
they found that with oars and sail together, they did not get their
clumsy craft along at the rate of a mile an hour. I doubt if they ever
could have reached the island under the best of circumstances; as it
was, they met a current a couple of miles to the southward, that swept
them out to sea. They were fully six hours in getting back to land;
even then it was a chance that they got back at all, nor would they
have done so if a wind had not luckily sprung up from the south. After
that they were content to remain where they were.

They also set up a signal: it was a palmetto tree with a bush lashed to
the top of it; beside this they built a pile of brush to fire at night,
in case any vessel should appear in the offing at evening time. They
added to this brush heap, from day to day, until it was as high as a
hay stack.

Once, during the latter part of that autumn, a dead porpoise was washed
up on the beach toward the lower part of the sandy hook. This was a
Godsend to them as a means to let their condition be known to the
outside world, for of the skin of this porpoise they made a number of
bags or bladders, which they set adrift at different times, when the
wind was fair for carrying them away. In these air bladders Tom put a
map of the island, its bearings (as nearly as he could judge), and word
of their condition. All this was drawn and written on two strips of
bark, and was done with the point of a red hot piece of iron. This was
the wording of the written part:

    +-----------------------------+
    | _The ship Nancy Hazlewood   |
    | of Philadelphia was lost    |
    | at sea on the 26 of Apl.    |
    | 1813. The 1st & 2d mates    |
    | by name John Kent Baldwin   |
    | and Thomas Granger were     |
    | wrecked on ths. Islnd. If   |
    | you are a Christn. come to  |
    | thr. aid._                  |
    +-----------------------------+

This I have copied from a slip of bark that Captain Williamson
afterward gave me.

Thus they settled and lived on the island with little of interest
happening in their lives, until the great hurricane of 1814 came upon
them. This was great in itself, but it brought that with it which let
them have no more idle days for a long time to come.



CHAPTER XI.


I SUPPOSE that there are very few people who read this story that have
not heard of the great hurricane of 1814, for I take it that very
few will read what I have written who are not in some way related or
connected with Tom Granger, and all such have heard him tell of it
again and again. Nevertheless, as I have ink and paper before me, and
as the itch of writing is upon me, I will tell it once more for the
benefit of those who come hereafter, and who have not heard of it from
Tom’s own mouth.

This hurricane reached over a zone stretching in breadth from Florida
to the Greater Antilles. It was felt more heavily in the northern part
than anywhere else; so that Tom and Jack passed through the worst of
it. One hundred and eight vessels were wrecked in the harbors and on
the coast of this region during the progress of the hurricane, and the
death-list was known to reach as high as one hundred and six. The crops
suffered severely, and over seven hundred houses were destroyed.

A few years ago, while I was spending a couple of weeks at Atlantic
City with my wife and two of my grandchildren, I met a Mr. Fitzgerald.
He was a lad living at Nassau at the time of this hurricane, and he
not only remembered it well, but his father, who was a gentleman much
interested in scientific matters, had kept careful data and memoranda
relating to it.

Mr. Fitzgerald was a very bright and intelligent old gentleman at the
time that I met him, and I was much interested in talking the matter
over with him, and comparing notes regarding it. The storm was severe
enough with Tom and Jack, but it must have been terrible indeed in a
place where there were so many lives to be lost and so much property to
be destroyed as in Nassau. He told me that the storm began with them
about ten o’clock in the night of the fourth of March, and blew with
great violence until half-past ten o’clock in the morning of the fifth.
The barometer at that time stood at 27.06 inches, which was the lowest
that his father had ever seen it. From that time the storm subsided,
and the torrents of rain began to cease, though the wind continued to
blow with violence until four o’clock in the afternoon. But all the
great loss of life and property happened in the space of twelve hours,
and while the hurricane was at its height.

The storm began at an earlier hour with Jack and Tom than it did at
Nassau, according to Mr. Fitzgerald’s account of it. I know, however,
that it came on the fourth of March, because that is the day before
Tom’s birthday, which comes on the fifth; therefore I am accurate in
regard to my dates, even if Mr. Fitzgerald had not corroborated the
account that I have always given of it.

It was a peculiarly sultry day, especially for that time of the year.
Tom and Jack were fishing in the morning, and, though they were sitting
still, the sweat kept running from Tom’s face in streams, as though he
was engaged in doing a hard piece of work. All morning there was a dead
stillness and a leaden heaviness in the air, and it seemed as though it
was a labor even to breathe. The sea gulls kept flying around the reef
in a troubled way, clamoring as they flew, and seeming to be restless
and uneasy at the oppressive stillness. The sky in the morning was of
a dull copperish color, though not a cloud was to be seen, but, as the
day wore along, a misty haze spread above them, through which the sun
shone red and dull, as it does in the morning and evening, when it is
near to the horizon. Once Jack said:

“Tom, there’s something going to happen. I never felt anything like
this in all my life before; and did you ever see the sea gulls behaving
as they are doing now? Mark my words, Tom, there’s something going to
come of all this before the day’s over.”

Tom agreed with him in his forebodings, for the oppression that he was
laboring under made him feel singularly apprehensive and uneasy in his
mind. In the afternoon they left their fishing and went back to their
hut, where they stretched themselves out in the shade, panting for
breath, for it seemed as though a hot blanket had been spread above
them. The tame sea gull sat under the lee of the boat, all hunched up
together. Every now and then it would look restlessly about, uttering a
low, whimpering note as it did so.

About four o’clock in the afternoon, as near as Tom could judge,
a strong puff of wind blew suddenly from the south. It ceased as
suddenly as it began, but, in a few minutes a gust as sudden and as
short-lived blew from the west. Then it blew again, but from the
eastward. This time it was more steady, and in a quarter of an hour it
had increased to a smart gale. It seemed to bring some coolness with
it, and lifted the oppressed feeling that had rested upon Tom and Jack
during the morning. Within an hour or so of sundown this wind died away
completely, and then it was as heavy, and as still, and as sultry as
ever. Then half an hour passed before anything farther happened.

Jack and Tom were busy scaling and cleaning their fish when, all of a
sudden, a shadow fell as though a hand had been stretched out across
the sky. Jack ran out of the hut with his knife in his hand, and the
next moment Tom heard him calling to him in a loud voice, bidding him
to hurry out and look at what was coming. Then Tom dropped everything
and ran.

As I said before, there was not a breath of air stirring, and yet a
black ragged wrack of clouds was flying wildly above their heads.
This bellying sheet of clouds hung very low in the air; above them it
was of a dull leaden color, rimmed with a strange reddish light, but
toward the west it was as black as ink. Although there was no wind
going, a cold air seemed to breathe out of the black emptiness of the
west, just such as you may feel when you open the door of a cool room
in the summer time. The ocean near to them was grey, with the light
from the east, and every now and then a white-cap would gleam, with a
pallid light against the darkness behind; but in the distance it grew
darker and darker, until the rim of the horizon was lost in the inky
pall beyond. Every moment the gloom fell about them, until it seemed
as though night had set in, though it was a good hour till sundown.
A dull, whispering moaning sound came from out the hollow of the
west, and Tom could hear it through all the beating and thundering of
the surf behind him. There was something awful in that moaning that
seemed to fill the air above and around them; both men stood looking
out toward the west, and neither of them said a word. Tom noticed how
the sea gulls were running restlessly up and down the beach, uttering
shrill wild cries every now and then, but not taking to wing.

And every moment the deep moaning grew louder and louder.

Suddenly a faint breath of air came, and instantly the sound of the
surf to the east was dulled as though a blanket had been spread
over it. Then there was a pause,—then there was a wild sweep of the
wind,—then, in an instant, the hollow roar was upon them and around
them.

Out from the blackness of the west came rushing an awful grey cloud of
mist and rain and salt spray, and before I can write these words, it
struck the island with a tremendous and thunderous uproar. Tom and Jack
were flung backward and down to the ground as though a wall had fallen
upon them, and all around them was a blinding gloom of sand and rain
and spray. Through this whirling darkness Tom saw the cutter lifted up
and tossed over and over like a dead leaf. Even through all the uproar
he could distinctly hear the noise of snapping and rending and tearing,
as the trees and bushes of the thicket near to them were being torn up
by the roots. Then he had a vision of one of the palmetto trees being
whirled through the air as though it were a straw.

For a while he lay clinging flat to the ground, digging his fingers
into the sand; but after a while he saw that Jack was crawling on his
hands and knees toward the lee of the sand hills, not far away from
where they lay; then he followed him in like manner.

It was a great while before they got safely to the shelter of the duns;
I suppose that it could not have taken them less than half an hour to
cross the two hundred yards of sand that lay between them and the lee
of the sand hills. Every now and then a heavier gust than usual would
come, and then they would lay flat upon the sand again, holding on to
the shifting surface, as though they feared being blown bodily away.
But between the gusts they would contrive to crawl a few feet farther.

At last they reached the lee of the hills, and so were sheltered from
the full force of the wind, though the hurricane bellowed and roared
above and around them with a noise such as Tom never heard before or
since.

The rain increased till it fell in torrents; it did not beat down the
wind, for the tempest blew more and more heavily until just before
morning, when it was something frightful.

All that night the rain poured down upon them in a deluge, but I do not
think that either of them noticed it, their minds being taken up with
quite different matters. The darkness around them was utter and blank
beyond what I can tell you. You could not have seen your hand within
six inches of your face. It seemed as though the end of all things had
come.

Tom and Jack sat hand in hand;—when one of them said anything to the
other, he had to put his lips to within an inch of his companion’s ear,
to make him understand a single word. But very little was said between
them, and most of the time they sat holding one another’s hand in
silence. Now and then the ground would actually tremble beneath them,
and at times a dim fear passed through Tom’s mind that the very sand
hill above them would be carried bodily away with the force of that
tremendous blast. About day-break, or what would have been day-break at
an ordinary time, the rain ceased to fall, though the hurricane still
raged with nearly as much fury as ever.

At last the faint grey daylight came, and after a while they were able
to see the things around them pretty clearly. The first thing that
Tom saw was a white sea gull crouched on the ground close to him. He
could have reached out his hand and have touched it, but it did not
seem to be in the least afraid at his presence. There were hundreds of
them around, but they all seemed to be dulled with terror, and made no
effort to move out of the way, or to take to flight.

At length, in the dim morning light, the ocean came out before them; it
was a strange sight, for the surf was beaten down by the wind, until
the sand beach reached out half as far again as it did on ordinary
occasions.

At first they could see nothing of the sandy hook to the southward,
for, though no sea was running, and though the ocean was leveled to
a seething sheet of whiteness, the water was banked up in the bay,
and covered the sand spit completely. The first thought that occurred
to Tom was that the whole bar had been swallowed up, and that there
had been an earthquake, though they had not noticed it in all the
bewilderment of the tempest. But, as the light grew stronger and
stronger, they could see the gleam of wet sand here and there, and
then could see the water running over it from the bay to the ocean.

By this time the storm was beginning to fall, though they did not dare
to leave their shelter for an hour or so later, and though the wind was
still heavy until the middle of the afternoon.

When they did leave the lee of the hill, the sight was strange enough;
the palmetto trees were all gone but one, and it was more than half
stripped of leaves.

One of them had been carried more than a quarter of a mile, and was now
lying half buried in the sand at the base of the dun, beneath which
they had taken shelter.

There was not a sign of their home in the sand hill, for not only was
the place levelled over as completely as though it had never been, but
the very shape of the hills themselves had been changed by the sand
that had blown against them here, or had been carried away from them
there.

The cutter had been swept away to a distance of two or three hundred
yards. It had lodged in a hollow between two of the duns. It was lying
keel up, and the sand was banked around the weather side of it like a
snowdrift. Strange enough, it was not much more broken than it had been
before, so they got it back again in a day or two, and it was still
sound enough to serve for their roof for the balance of the time that
they stayed on the island.

The great stack of brushwood that they had heaped on the highest
sand-dun had all been carried away, as had also their signal tree with
the bush lashed to it. Everything was salt with the spray that had been
carried inland, and the island flats were dotted all over with pools of
salt water, that had been blown or swept over the land. Wherever this
salt water lay the grass was killed or blackened, so that the following
summer the island looked as though fire had passed over it.

Such was the great hurricane of 1814 as Tom Granger and Jack Baldwin
felt it; and I think that they both felt it in its full force, though
they escaped from it with no more harm than a thorough wetting and
a great fright. It took them several weeks to do what they could at
making good the damage done, and then it was not fully repaired, for
all the provisions that they had stored up had been carried away or had
been covered up by the sand that had been blown before the blast.

I think that the greatest loss that they suffered was that of Tom’s
jack-knife. He had left it lying beside the fish that he was in the
act of cleaning when Jack had called to him and he had run out of the
hut. They looked for it every now and then for several days afterward,
digging about the place where it had been lost; but their hut or cave
in the sand hill had been so completely covered, and the lay of the
hill itself had been so entirely changed, that they never found it
again.

The loss of a jack-knife may seem but a small thing to tell you, who
have only had to slip around the corner and buy a new one at the
nearest hardware shop. But there was no hardware shop near to Jack and
Tom, and the loss of the jack-knife was a very great ill to them.

Neither did they ever see the tame sea-gull again, and they missed the
sight of it from the keel of the upturned boat. I suppose that it must
have been swept away and have perished in the hurricane.



CHAPTER XII.


AND now a little more than a week had passed since the great hurricane
of which I have just told you fell upon them. I recollect that it was a
Sunday morning. Sundays were generally spent in doing no work, and in
taking a stroll around the island. But they had had no rest since the
day of the storm, for the time between then and now had all been spent
in repairing the damages that had been wrought. Now they were pretty
comfortably settled again, and the day being bright and fair, they had
fixed that it should be spent in taking a look about them.

It was cool and pleasant, and they strolled leisurely up the western
side of the island, skirting the belt of Mangrove bushes, around the
northern end, past the barren sand flat, and so down the Atlantic beach
again. By the middle of the afternoon they had come back to the lower
end of the island, and had gone out on to the spit.

The water that had washed over this place on the day of the storm had
carried away a great deal of the sand. The surf ran much farther up the
beach, and Tom noticed that the ribs of the wreck stood higher out of
the sand than he had ever seen them. They did not go farther than the
wreck, but laid themselves down close to it, looking out across the
water toward the distant island that was then looming to the southward,
talking about it and about their chances of getting to it.

Jack was in a more than usually downhearted state as to their not being
able to get away from the place that they were on. He said that so far
as he could see, they might have to live there all their lives and then
die, and no one be the wiser of it. Tom was feeling gloomy himself on
this particular day, and he felt very impatient at poor Jack when he
began his complaining. He felt that if complaints were to be made, it
was he that should make them, and not Jack, for had he not much more
to lose by staying where he was than the other? I know how selfish
this was, but there are times when we are given over to spells of
selfishness, and, though such a state may be very wrong, it is yet very
natural.

“You might just as well have patience, Jack,” said he, “We’ve tried to
get away already, and you know what came of it. We certainly can’t live
here forever without sighting a vessel of some sort at some time or
other.”

“We haven’t seen a sign of a ship up to this time,” said Jack, gloomily.

“That’s very true, and maybe we’ll have to wait till the war’s over
before one comes along. You know very well that there’s no shipping
being done nowadays.”

“Wait till the war’s over!” cried Jack, raising himself suddenly on his
elbow; “why, heavens and earth, man, it may be half a dozen years to
come, before the war’s over!”

“Perhaps it may be a dozen years, for all that I know,” said Tom, “but
all the same you’ll have to wait, so you may just as well keep your
tongue still between your teeth, and be patient about it!”

“Wait?” cried Jack, and he thumped his clenched fist down on the sand.
“By G—I’ll not wait! I’ll do something; see if I don’t! I’ll not let
any twenty miles of water keep me tied up in this God-forsaken place!
Why don’t you do something? You’re so full of your d—d contrivances for
making us comfortable; why don’t you puzzle out some plan for getting
us off altogether?”

Tom was lying on the sand, his hands under his head, and one leg
crossed comfortably over the other. He did not move while Jack was
talking, and he made a point of seeming to be very easy under it, but
he was getting more and more angry all the time. He did not answer Jack
immediately, but after a while he spoke as quietly as he could.

“You’re unreasonable, Jack,” said he. “Haven’t I done everything
that I could do to get us away; haven’t I built a raft and put up
signals on the sand hills; haven’t I set a dozen or more bladder-bags
adrift? The chances are that some of them’ll be picked up, and in good
time a ship’ll come to us. I don’t see that you have any reason to
complain, and if you have reason, you’d better try to do something
yourself;—you’re welcome to it. As for our getting away;—we’ve tried to
get away already, and you know what came of it. In my opinion we came
so devilish near getting away, that we liked never to have got back to
this or to any other island.”

“Do you mean to say that you’re so scared at a little risk that you’re
afraid to try it over again?”

“I don’t know about being scared, but I certainly ain’t going to try it
over again.”

“You ain’t?”

“No.”

Jack did not say a word for a little while, but Tom felt that he was
looking at him very hard. At last he spoke again.

“It’s my belief, Tom Granger,” said he, “that you haven’t got an ounce
of pluck left about you. I believe that you’re that dull that you’d
be content to live here forever, if you could get enough to fill your
belly!”

This was too much for Tom. He sat up suddenly, facing the other. “Jack
Baldwin,” said he, and his voice trembled with his anger, “understand
me, once for all. If we’re to live together, or to talk together, or to
have anything to do with one another, I never want to hear such speech
from your mouth as you’ve just given me; do you understand me?”

Here he paused for a moment, and then he burst out passionately: “What
do you know how much I want to get away? Do you suppose that I don’t
want to get away because I don’t keep up an everlasting whimpering and
whining about it, as you do? What do you want to get away for, anyhow?
Is the only woman that you love in all the world waiting at home for
you, looking for you, and praying for you, and wondering why she don’t
hear from you—thinking, maybe, that you’re dead. God help her! I wish
that I was dead, and that she knew it. It would be better for us both,
I guess!” Then he rested his elbows on his knees and buried his face in
his hands, rocking his body to and fro as he sat.

Jack did not say another word, and in a few moments Tom heard him get
up and walk away. After a little while Tom got a grip on himself and
looked up again.

Jack was standing just below the wreck and over toward the ocean. He
had gathered what seemed to be a handful of small, black, flat shells,
and he was busy in skimming them out across the surf. Presently Tom got
up and walked slowly over to where he was standing. He was heartily
ashamed of the way in which he had spoken to the other, and would have
given a great deal if he could only have recalled his words; but that
is a thing that can never be done. He stood a little behind Jack, with
his hands in his breeches pockets, looking down at the sand the while.
After a while Jack spoke, without looking around.

“Look’ee, Tom Granger,” said he, doggedly, “I’m sorry I spoke to
you the way that I did. I didn’t know that you had a sweetheart at
home,—you ought to ha’ told me before. I’ll never say any more about
getting away, if I have to stay on this d—d island to the crack of
doom, and that I promise you.”

“That’s all right,” muttered Tom; “don’t let’s say any more about it.”

One of the round black things that Jack was skimming out to sea, lay at
his feet, and without knowing what he did, he stooped and picked it up
as he was speaking. He turned it over and over in his palm in an absent
sort of a way, for he was feeling very uncomfortable at the time.

He turned it over and over, until, after a while, it worked through
his sight into his mind; then he looked more closely at it, for he
had never seen the like of it before. It was not a shell, neither was
it a pebble, for there were no pebbles on the island. It was thin and
perfectly round, and as black as ink. On one side of it was a raised
surface that bore a faint likeness to the rude image of a head; below
this was something that looked like a row of small figures. He brushed
it smooth with the palm of his hand, and then looked more closely at
it, turning it around and around, and this way and that. All of a
sudden a thought struck him, and I cannot describe the thrill that
went through him as he looked at that which he held. As this thought
went through his mind, he closed his hand and looked slowly around
him, as though he was in a dream. I can distinctly recollect that that
singular feeling which we all have felt at times passed over him;—a
feeling as though all this had happened before, but as though it had
happened in a dream. Then he looked at the object once more, and could
just make out the figures;—they were 1, 7, 9 and 2. He picked at the
edge of the disk, and a white sparkle followed the scratching of his
thumb nail.

“Good Lord, Jack!” cried he, “look! look!”

There was a ring in his voice that made Jack jump as though he had been
struck. “Look at what, Tom?” said he, in a half-frightened voice.

“Look at this!” said Tom, and he held out that which he had picked up a
minute before. “What do you think it is?”

Jack had three or four of them in his own hand. “I don’t know,” said
he, turning them over and over. Suddenly he too began to look more
closely at them. “Why, Tom—Tom—” he began, “is it—is it—”

“It’s money;—it’s silver money, Jack, as sure as I am a living sinner!”

“Why, so it is!” cried Jack, “why, so it is, Tom! This is a half a
dollar, and so is this, and this, and this! Why, Tom, here’s another,
and another! Great heavens, Tom! _the sand’s covered with them!_”

And so it was. Here and there would be two or three lying together, but
in most cases they were scattered about like shells at high water mark.
Jack sat down quite overcome, and then began laughing in a foolish sort
of a way, but there was a catch in his laugh that sounded mightily
like crying. “Tom,” said he, “we’re rich men! Tom, did you ever see or
hear of the like? Why, Tom—”

Then he stopped all of a sudden, and, scrambling to his feet, fell to
gathering up the money as though he had been crazy.

For an hour or more they hunted up and down, picking up silver pieces
as children pick up chestnuts under a chestnut tree. After a while they
only found a few stray coins here and there, and finally they cleared
the beach of them altogether. Then they sat down to count them. Tom had
about two hundred dollars; Jack had gathered more nearly three hundred
than two. Altogether they had a little less than five hundred dollars
between them.

“Where do you suppose they came from, Tom?” said Jack, after a while.
He was sitting on the sand when he spoke, holding a lot of the coins in
his hand and turning them over with his fingers.

Tom shook his head. This was the same thought that had been puzzling
him for some time past, and, as yet, he had not been able to answer it.

After a while they went back to their hut, carrying their money with
them. Jack was very talkative and excited, but Tom was as silent as
the other was noisy, for he was pondering over the matter of Jack’s
question—Where did they all come from?

Where did they all come from? He thought and thought till his brain was
muddled with his thinking. Could there have been a treasure buried
here by the buccaneers in times past? It was a wild thought, but Tom
was ready for any kind of wild thought at the time. But then the date
of the coin that he had found—1792—that was long after the time of the
buccaneers. He picked up another piece and looked at it; it also bore
the same date, 1792, and so did another and another; they were all of
the same mintage. He did not know what to think of it.

Jack must have had a notion that Tom was puzzling his wits over this,
for he sat beside the fire all of the evening without saying a word.
Every now and then he arose and threw some more brushwood on the
flames; beyond that he hardly moved, but sat in silence, watching Tom
furtively.

“Tom,” said he, at last.

“Well, Jack.”

“Do you suppose that it could _rain_ money?”

“Stuff and nonsense!”

“I don’t see any stuff and nonsense about it. I’ve heard of it raining
stones, and why shouldn’t it rain money as well? We never found any
before that hurricane came on us.”

“That’s true enough, Jack,” said Tom, “I hadn’t thought of that.” For
the finding of this money had driven all thought of the hurricane out
of his head.

“Then you think it might have rained money, after all?”

“No; I don’t think that.”

“Humph! Well, what do you think about it?”

“I don’t know what to think about it; but you’ve put a new idea into my
head.”

It was later than usual when they went to rest that night. Tom laid
awake hour after hour, his thoughts as busy as bees. Where had the
money come from? This was the question that ran through his brain
unceasingly, keeping him awake as the silent night moved along. And
then, why should all the coins bear the same date of 1792?

Suddenly the whole thing opened before him, and he saw it all as
clearly as I see the hand before my face. He could hardly help shouting
aloud, but he bethought him that Jack might be asleep, and that it
would be a pity to awaken him.

“Jack,” whispered he, in a low voice.

“Helloa!” said the other, quickly, for he was wide awake.

“I think I’ve found it out!”

“Found out what?”

“Found where the money came from.”

“Well, where did it come from?” said Jack, and Tom could see in the
gloom that he sat up in his excitement.

“Did you notice that all the money bore the same date, 1792?” said Tom.

“No; I didn’t notice that.”

“Well, it did, and, what’s more, it’s all Spanish money.”

“But where did it come from?” said Jack.

“Jack,” said Tom, slowly, “as sure as I’m lying here, that wreck on
the sand-spit is the wreck of a Spanish treasure ship.”

“Tom!” shouted Jack, “you’re right! What a fool I was not to think of
that! Why, it’s as plain as the nose on your face!”

No doubt you who read this have guessed the matter long ago, and have
wondered that Tom and Jack were so dull of wits as not to have thought
of it before. But the idea never entered their heads that a fortune was
lying buried in the sand that covered the poor old wreck that had been
so constantly before their eyes for almost a year, and when they found
money like pebbles along the beach, it never struck them that it could
have been washed out of those crumbling ribs, whose only value had been
that they gave them a rusty spike every now and then.

Jack was wild to go out into the night, and to hunt for money there and
then, and it was as much as Tom could do to quiet him and make him lie
down and try to get a little sleep. Of course, neither of them caught a
wink, and both were stirring at the dawn of day.

They hardly ate a bite of food before they set to work.

By noontide Tom had made a couple of rude shovels, the blades of which
were of the plankings of the cutter over their heads, and the handles
of which were two straight limbs, cut from the neighboring thicket. It
was a long tedious piece of work to make these shovels, for Tom had no
tools to work with but Jack’s knife, and only half of the blade of
that was left. Tom labored steadily at the shovels, but Jack was very
impatient at the slowness of the work, and was continually urging him
to hurry matters. I suppose that he was back and forth from the hut to
the wreck a dozen times in the course of the morning.

But at last the shovels were finished. Tom tried to persuade Jack to
eat a bite before he went to work, but Jack would have nothing to
do with food; he shouldered the two shovels and started away to the
sand-spit, leaving Tom to cook and eat his dinner by himself. When Tom
went over to the wreck a half an hour later, he found Jack busily at
work, and a great hole already scooped out in the sand,—but Jack had
not yet found a cent of money.

I do not think that they had any idea of what they were undertaking,
and what a tremendous piece of work it was that lay before them. I
confess that Tom was as foolish as Jack, in having a notion that all
they would have to do would be to scoop away a little sand, and pick up
money by the handful; but they found nothing either on that day or the
next, or the next, or for a week or more to come. Jack began to be very
much discouraged, and said more than once that he was certain that Tom
had been mistaken in his notion that the wreck was that of a treasure
ship.

Tom himself began to be a little down-hearted, and more than once
suspected that he had made a wrong guess. But when he brought to mind
that the money was of one mintage, and, from the way in which it lay,
that it was plainly washed out of the wreck by the water that had
flowed over the sand-spit at the time of the hurricane, he would feel
reassured that he was right, though he could not account for the reason
why a part of it should have been washed up, while the rest seemed to
lie so deeply beneath the surface. So he managed to keep Jack pretty
steadily to his work, though, as the days dragged along and nothing
came of their labor, it became a great task to do so.

But on the tenth day they made a find. They were just about to give up
their work for the evening, when Tom unearthed a small, wooden box. It
was about a foot long, six inches wide, and three or four inches deep.
It was very rotten, and fell to pieces as Jack tried to pick it up. It
was full of money, which tumbled all in a heap as the box crumbled in
Jack’s hand. The money must have been in rolls when it was put into the
case, for there were scraps of mouldy paper mixed with it, and some of
the coins had bits of paper glued to them by the black rust that had
gathered upon them.

This was the first money that they found by digging, and Jack nearly
went crazy over it. Tom himself was very much excited, but he did not
act as absurdly as Jack, who danced, and laughed, and shouted like one
possessed. It was their first gleam of good luck, and it was a good
thing that it came when it did, for it was speedily followed by the
worst of ill fortune.

That night there came a south-east storm that did great damage. It had
been brewing all of the afternoon, but Tom and Jack had not seen it,
or, if they had seen it, had thought nothing of it, for heretofore
the wash of the surf had never run as far up as the wreck, even in
the heaviest weather. But so much of the sand had been carried away
that the surf came a great deal higher than it had done before. It was
blowing quite heavily when Tom and Jack went over to the sand-spit the
next morning, and a part of the wash of the breakers had found its way
into the place that they had been digging, so that the sand had caved
in here and there. They tried to do all that they could to protect
their work, but it was no good, for, by the time that evening had come,
the place that they had dug out was half full of sand, and by the next
morning it was nearly levelled over, and all of their labor was to be
done again. As soon as the storm was over they set to work, and in a
week’s time had the sand nearly all dug out. Then came another blow,
and the same thing happened as before.

After this they set about the work with more system. They built a
breakwater of stakes, between which they wove twigs and grass. This was
Tom’s plan, and they found that it kept the sea back completely, for,
as I have said, it was only the wash of the breakers that ran over the
place that they were at work. It never filled up again as long as Tom
and Jack were engaged upon it.

But all this cost a great deal of time and labor, and I doubt very much
if they had not found the box of money whether they would ever have
struck a shovel into the sand again after the first storm came upon
them; so that it was a lucky thing that they found the box when they
did, and that the southeaster did not come a day sooner.

For three or four months they worked as never men worked before. It is
strange to think of how men will labor and toil for money, even when
money will do them as little good as it did Jack and Tom on this lonely
island. It is a wonder that they did not kill themselves with the work
and the hardships that they went through during that time. However, the
excitement that they were living under kept them up to a great degree.

During all these months they lived upon little else than fish. Now and
then they would gather a few mussels or catch a crab or two, but their
chief living was fish—broiled fish for breakfast, dinner and supper,
until they both grew to loathe the very sight of it. Tom got such a
surfeit of them in that time that he could never bear the smell of a
frying fish from that day to this.

Upon the first of September they counted over the money that they had
unearthed, and they found that they had over eight thousand dollars in
all. It was made up of silver coins of all sizes, large and small.

They only had three days more of work on the island, and, as two of
those days were blank, they did not add very much to the sum that they
had already gathered.



CHAPTER XIII.


IT was the morning of the 3d of September of the same year,—1814.

Tom and Jack had just finished their breakfast;—it was of broiled fish.
Hughy! It makes me shudder even now to think of it, for I do hate the
very sight of a fish.

The work of digging at the wreck had settled down to a very jog-trot
business by this time. Neither of the men were in a hurry to quit
their comfortable seat on the sand and turn to hard work, that had
lost all the savor of novelty it had had at first. The first day that
they had struck shovel into the sand above the wreck, Jack had started
off eagerly, without eating a bite; he was quite willing to eat a meal
now,—even a meal of broiled fish—and to take a goodly while to the
eating of it also. So they both sat dwadling over their unsavory food,
not at all anxious to make a start.

“Well, Jack,” said Tom, at last; “I suppose that we might as well be
stirring.”

“I reckon we might,” said Jack, and then he stretched himself, as a
first step toward getting up.

At that moment a sound fell upon their ears. It was not one to which
you would have given a second thought, and yet if it had been a clap
of thunder out of a clear sky, it could not have startled the two more
than it did.

When they had rebuilt their hut after it had been destroyed by the
great hurricane, they had not located in the same spot in which they
had lived before. An eddy of the wind had scooped a hollow out of
the side of the sand hill, and it was in the side of this cup-shaped
hollow that they had digged their house, and had roofed it in with the
cutter as they had done before; for they thought that they would be
more sheltered in this spot if another hurricane should come upon them.
Looking from this hollow in front of them, they could see nothing but a
part of the western ocean and the upper end of the sand-spit, whereupon
they worked from day to day. It was just back of them, and from the
crest or brim of this sandy bowl that the sound came that startled them
so greatly.

It was the sound of a man’s voice.

“Ahoy there!”

For a moment Jack and Tom looked at one another without turning around.
This minute I can see just how Jack stared at Tom; his mouth agape, and
his eyes as big as saucers. But it was only for a moment that they sat
looking at one another so amazedly, for the next instant they jumped to
their legs and turned around.

A burly red-faced man was standing on the crest of the white sand hill,
his figure sharply marked against the blue sky behind him. His hands
were thrust deeply into his breeches pockets, and he stood with his
legs a little apart. He had a short cutty pipe betwixt his teeth;—the
bowl was turned topsey-turvey, and there was no light in it. When he
saw that Tom and Jack were looking at him, he spoke again, without
taking the pipe from out his mouth.

“Are you fellows the first and second mates of the _Nancy Hazlewood_,
privateersman?”

Jack nodded his head.

The man turned and beckoned two or three times, and then came slowly
and carefully down the steep side of the sand dun, half sliding, half
stumbling. The first thing that he said when he came to where they
were, was:

“I just tell you what it is, mates; that mess of fish smells mighty
good.” Then he asked which of them was the first mate.

“I’m the first mate,” said Jack.

By this time three or four heads rose above the crest of the hill, and
a little knot of sailors gathered on the top of the dun; then they
came jumping and sliding and stumbling down to where the others were
standing.

But all this time Tom was like one in a dream. I think that he must
have been dazed by the suddenness of the coming of that for which he
had longed so bitterly and so deeply. He tried to realize that they
were rescued; that these men were about to take them away; that they
were really to leave the island that had been their prison for so
many long and weary days, and that in a few weeks at the furthest, he
would be in Eastcaster again, and would see Patty, and would be talking
with her of all these things. Many a time in the silence of the lonely
night, he had pictured their rescue to himself, and in the sleep that
followed, he had perhaps dreamed that a boat was lying on the beach
below their hut, and then had wakened to the bitterness of its being
only a dream. But now that rescue had in truth come to them, he could
no more realize it than you or I can realize that we are really to see
the other world, some time to come. So he stood leaning against the
poor old shattered cutter that had sheltered Jack and him for so long,
and as he leaned there he looked about him, wondering dully, whether or
not he would not awaken in a few minutes and find this too to be only
a dream. He heard the man who had hailed them, telling Jack that he
was the first mate of the barque _Baltimore_, of Baltimore, and that
they were bound for New York from Key West, having run fifty miles out
of their course to pick them up at this island. He heard him ask Jack
which one of them had set the bladder of porpoise hide adrift, that
the _Baltimore_ had picked up off the Florida coast, and saw that Jack
jerked his thumb toward him, and that the mate of the _Baltimore_ was
looking at him, and was saying that it was a d—d clever Yankee trick.
He saw the sailors crowding around, looking here and there; peeping and
prying into the doorway of the hut, and talking amongst themselves.
“Blast my eyes, Tommy, look at this here shanty!” “Well, I’m cussed if
they hain’t got a ship’s boat slung up for a roof!” “Damme! look at
his beard and hair; (this in a hoarse whisper) he’s the second mate,
Bill;—Granger, you know.”

Then he heard Jack ask the mate of the _Baltimore_ for a chew of
tobacco. He cut off the piece of the plug with his old broken
jack-knife, and Tom watched him doing it as though it was a matter of
the greatest moment to him. I can recollect that he thought dully how
Jack must enjoy his tobacco after having been so long without it.

After a while there was a movement, and he heard Jack calling to him to
come along, as they were all going over to the boat, but it was still
in the same dazed state that he walked along the beach with the others
until they came around the end of the sand hills, saw the bay open
before him, and the barque floating like a swan upon the smooth surface
of the water. A ship’s boat was lying high and dry on the sand of the
beach, and two sailors were sitting in the stern, smoking comfortably
and talking together. They tumbled out of the boat and stood looking as
the others drew near, and Tom thought what a strange sight Jack and he
must be—ragged, tattered, patched, half-naked, with beards reaching to
their breasts, and heads uncovered, excepting for the mat of hair that
hung as low as their shoulders. He had not thought of their looking
strange before this.

So they reached the boat, and Tom stood for a moment looking down into
it and at the oars lying along the thwarts within. Then he and Jack
and Mr. Winterbury (the first mate) climbed in and the boat was shoved
off, grating on the sand as it moved into the water. There was a rattle
of oars dropped into the rowlocks, and then the regular “chug! chug!”
of the rowing. He looked back and saw the island and the beach and
the white sand hills that he knew so well dropping slowly astern. It
seemed very strange to be looking at them from the ocean. At last they
were close to where the barque was slowly rising and falling upon the
heaving of the ground swell that came rolling in around the point of
the sandy hook beyond. This is the way in which their rescue came.

As they swept under the lee of the barque Mr. Winterbury stood up in
the stern sheets of the boat. There were a row of faces looking down at
them from the forecastle, and two or three sailors were standing on the
bulwarks, holding on to the shrouds. They, too, were looking down into
the boat. Two men were standing near to the break of the poop. One of
them was a handsome young fellow of about twenty; the other was a tall,
rather loose-jointed man, somewhat round-shouldered, and a little past
the prime of life. He had his hands clasped behind him, and he hailed
the first mate as soon as the cutter came alongside.

“Did you find them all safe and sound, Mr. Winterbury?”

“Yes, sir; safe and sound.”

Mr. Winterbury went up the side first, and Jack and Tom followed close
at his heels. They were met by Captain Williamson as soon as they had
stepped upon the deck. He shook hands with them, and immediately asked
them to step into the cabin, for he must have seen that it was trying
to them to be stared at by all of the ship’s crew. There was a decanter
of Madeira and three glasses on the cabin table. Captain Williamson
bade Tom and Jack be seated, and then sat down himself. He filled one
of the glasses, and then passed the decanter to the others, bidding
them to fill likewise, which they did.

It may not be out of place here to give you a description of Captain
Williamson. He was one of the skippers of the last century, the like
of which we rarely, if ever, see nowadays. He was part owner in the
craft that he sailed, and made a good thing of it. He came of an old
Annapolis family, and was a courteous, kindly, Christian gentleman,
though stiff and formal in his manners. He fancied that he looked like
General Washington, and it was a weakness of his to act and carry
himself as nearly as he could after the manner of the General, who, by
the by, was a distant relative or connection, though by marriage, if
I mistake not. Another weakness of his was a fancy that he would have
made a great naval captain if he had only had the opportunity.

As it was, he had never smelt fighting powder in all his life; nor was
he likely to do so, for, though no coward, he was cautious and careful
in the extreme, and would never willingly have entered into action,
even with a fighting bum-boat. He always wore a cocked hat, like an
admiral, knee-breeches, buckles and pumps, and when he was standing
still rested mainly on one foot, with his hands clasped behind him
and the knee of the other leg bent, just as General Washington always
stands in the pictures that one sees of him.

So he sat now, with one knee crossed over the other, very stiff and
straight, just as General Washington might have sat if he had been
sitting in the cabin.

“May I ask which of you is the first mate?” said he.

“I’m the first mate, sir,” said Jack.

“Mr. Baldwin, I believe?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Was it you, sir, who conceived the extremely ingenious and clever
plan of sending bags or bladders of porpoise hide afloat, with your
condition and location inclosed within them?”

“No, sir,” said Jack, “it was my mate here,” and he chucked his thumb
toward Tom.

“It was a very clever thought—very clever indeed,” said Captain
Williamson, turning to Tom. “How did you get that black substance with
which it was covered?”

“We mixed the porpoise blubber with soot,” said Tom.

The captain nodded his head. “Very clever indeed,” said he again,
“it was very efficacious, for the bladder was quite covered with the
substance when we picked it up—so much so, indeed, that my fingers were
thoroughly befouled in the handling of it. And was it you, also, who
made the map of the island?”

“Yes, sir,” said Tom again.

Then Captain Williamson nodded his head once more, and said for the
third time: “Very clever—very clever, indeed.” Then he told Tom that
the _Baltimore_ had picked up the bladder off the Florida coast. “It
was,” said he, “but fifty miles out of my course to come to this
island, for I am bound for New York harbor. I recognized the situation
of the island from the plan of it found enclosed in the bladder.”

“It was a kind and Christian act on your part,” said Tom. “Very few
captains would have run fifty miles out of their course to pick up two
poor souls, ’specially while so many British cruisers are about. I and
my mate—”

Here he stopped, for a great lump rose in his throat until it seemed to
choke him.

“Tut! tut! tut! tut!” said Captain Williamson, holding up his hand
deprecatingly; “it was no more than one Christian man ought to do for
another. Say no more of that, I beg of you. There are many questions
that I wish to ask of you in reference to the loss of the _Nancy
Hazlewood_, but I will not trouble you with questions just at this
season. I will beg of you to give such an account, however, after you
are refreshed with clean linen and clothes, and what not.”

As Captain Williamson paused for a moment Tom looked at Jack, and saw
that he fidgeted restlessly in his chair when the other spoke of the
_Nancy Hazlewood_. There was a great deal about her loss that would be
very difficult and very bitter to tell.

“In the meantime,” said Captain Williamson, resuming his speech, “you
need have no anxiety about anything that you may desire to fetch away
from the island with you, for I have sent a boat ashore under my second
mate, Mr. Bright. He will see that everything is brought safely away
from your hut or cabin. So, as I said, you need have no anxiety on that
score.”

At these words Jack and Tom sprung to their feet, for the thought
struck them both at once that their money would be found, and that in
an hour’s time every man aboard of the ship would not only know that
the two castaways had been digging for treasure, but would also know
where that treasure had been found. It would be no secret then, but
would be known to all, and there was no telling what such knowledge
might bring with it. It was a thing that no one but the captain or the
chief officers of the ship should be aware of just at the present time.

“Captain Williamson,” cried Jack, “for the love of heaven, don’t let
that boat go ashore just yet! Tom, you speak to him, you’re blessed
with the gift of talk; speak to him, and tell him about the mon—, about
you know what.”

“Yes, captain,” cried Tom, “for heaven’s sake don’t let the boat go
ashore till we tell you something first.”

Captain Williamson had also risen to his feet. He seemed to be very
much amazed at their words. “Why not? Why shouldn’t the boat go
ashore?” said he. “What does all this mean?”

“Has the boat left the ship yet, captain?” said Tom.

“Yes; the boat has left the ship; but what does all this mean, I say?”

“Then, stop it—call it back!” cried Tom.

Jack was walking up and down, patting his clenched fist in his
excitement. “I’ll tell you what it means,” he blurted out; “it means
that there’s nigh to nine thousand dollars in silver money in that hut,
and that the crew of the boat mustn’t find it there.”

“Nine thousand dollars!” repeated Captain Williamson; and then he
stopped and stood glaring at the two men as though he doubted he had
heard aright.

“Yes,” said Jack, thumping his fist down on the table, “nine thousand
dollars, and if you let that boat’s crew find it, and find where it
came from, you’ll be chucking a fortune from your own hands into their
pockets. For heaven’s sake, stop the boat—call it back!”

Then Captain Williamson stepped quickly to the door and flung it open.
“Mr. Winterbury!” cried he, sharply.

“Aye, aye, sir!”

“Call the cutter back!”

“Call the—”

“Call the cutter back!”

“Aye, aye, sir!”

There was a pause, and then Tom and Jack heard the bellow of the mate’s
voice in the trumpet:

“Cutter ahoy-y-y-y!”

Captain Williamson stood with his head out of the cabin door, and
presently they heard him ask:

“Do they hear you, sir?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Then signal them back.”

“Aye, aye, sir!”

Then Captain Williamson drew in his head, shutting the door carefully,
and resumed his seat. He passed his hand over his face, and crossed his
knees, and then put on his Washingtonian air again. I think that he was
half ashamed of the excitement that had driven him out of it a moment
before.

“Now, Mr. Granger,” said he, “since Mr. Baldwin has called upon you to
be the spokesman, will you tell me what all this means?”

“Yes, sir; I will,” said Tom. “Of course, you will have to know
everything, after what has passed; but I should have told you of it
anyhow, for I put much trust in your honor.”

“You are perfectly right to do so,” said Captain Williamson. “Sit down,
if you please.”

Then the two sat down again, and Tom began his story. Captain
Williamson did not say a word to interrupt him, but every now and
then he looked sharply from Tom to Jack, and from Jack back again to
Tom. He sat with his elbows on the arms of his chair, and the tips of
his fingers just touching each other; but he did not move a muscle,
excepting as he turned his head when he looked first at one, and then
at the other.

At last Tom had made an end of the story. Captain Williamson did not
move for a second or two, but he sat just as he had been doing all
along. Then he drew a deep breath, and arose from his chair. He took a
turn or two up and down the cabin; then he stopped suddenly in front of
Tom and Jack.

“This is an extraordinary—a most extraordinary tale,” said he. “I never
heard the like in all my life. It’s like a tale in a romance, and I
can scarcely believe that I have heard aright. That you should find a
treasure on this—”

Here he stopped abruptly and looked sharply from one to the other.
“Surely, there can be nothing false and underhand in all this,” he said.

“I suppose the story does sound strange to you,” said Tom. “I reckon
that it’s because we’re so used to it that it don’t seem as though it
ought to be strange. It’s the truth, though, captain. There wouldn’t be
any use in our telling you a lie, for you can easily prove the truth of
it for yourself.”

“True, true,” said he, and then he began walking up and down the cabin
again. “What do you intend to do about the matter now?” said he,
stopping for a moment, and turning to the others.

Tom and Jack looked at one another.

“I’ll leave the whole thing to you, Tom,” said Jack. “It was you who
found the money—at least, it was you that found out where it was. I
suppose it ought all to belong to you, by rights.”

“That’s all nonsense, Jack,” said Tom. “It was you who found it first;
but even if you hadn’t, we’re mates, and it’s share and share alike
between us.”

“Well, I reckon that’s no more than fair,” said Jack, “but it don’t
matter in this case; I’ll leave the whole thing to you.”

Tom sat lost in thought for a few moments. At last he spoke: “I’d make
this proposal,” said he; “that we put the whole thing in the hands
of Captain Williamson, leaving him to do what he thinks best in the
matter, only having him guarantee to share all gains that shall come
from it with us. It seems to me that we certainly owe as much as this
to him, and that it’s the least that we can do. What do you think,
Jack?”

Jack hesitated for a moment. “Well,” said he, “I suppose that it’s no
more than what’s right.”

“I think not,” said Tom. “What do you say about it, captain?”

“It’s for you to say,” said Captain Williamson. “Of course, I’ll be
glad to go into the matter with you, but I wish you to understand that
I don’t want you to feel that any money is due me because I ran a few
miles out of my course to pick you up. That was no more than one man
could be expected to do for another. If I come into this, it must be on
purely business grounds, and not as a gift of gratitude from you.”

“Very well,” said Tom. “What do you think would be fair terms between
us?”

“If you have no objections, I would like to talk with my first mate
about it,” said Captain Williamson.

Jack and Tom looked at one another again.

“Do you think that there’s any special need of his knowing about it?”
said Jack. “It seems to me that we’re taking in a good many. It’s all
right that you should share with us, seeing that you’ve treated us in
such a handsome manner. I acknowledge that very few captains would have
sailed out of their course in times of war for the sake of picking up
a couple of poor, shipwrecked devils, with nothing to be gained by it,
and, apart from the business part of it, I think likely that we owe
that much to you; but I don’t see why the mate should be taken in, too.”

“I don’t know that he will expect to be ‘taken in,’” said Captain
Williamson, somewhat coldly, “but I think that you’ll find his advice
in the matter will be of help to you. You may rely upon it that the
secret will be as safe with him as it will be with me.”

“All right,” said Jack; “if Tom don’t care, I don’t, either.”

So Mr. Winterbury was called into the cabin, and Tom told the story of
the finding of the treasure all over again.

“What do you think of it, Mr. Winterbury?” said Captain Williamson,
when Tom had ended.

“I think it’s the most extraordinary yarn that ever I heard in all my
life.”

“Exactly my thought. And now, if Mr. Baldwin and Mr. Granger will
excuse us for a moment or two, I would like to have a few words with
you outside.” Then they went out, and Jack and Tom were left alone.

“It seems to me that you did rather too much, Tom,” said Jack.

“I think it was as little as we could do,” said Tom. “They’ve sailed
fifty miles out of their course to pick us up, without expecting so
much as a red cent for it, so I think it was as little as we could do.”

“Oh, all right; I’m not finding fault,” said Jack. “I don’t mean to
find any fault at all; I was only giving you my notion about it. I’m
satisfied.”

But it was very plain, from the way in which he spoke, that he was
_not_ satisfied.

In a little while Captain Williamson and Mr. Winterbury came into the
cabin again. Then the captain asked a number of questions about the
wreck—how much of it they had already uncovered, etc., etc.

“We’ve uncovered a little less than one quarter of it, I should judge,”
said Tom, looking to Jack for confirmation.

Jack nodded his head.

Then Captain Williamson told them what his idea was about it. That
he did not think that the wreck was that of a treasure ship, as they
had not found money enough in it for that; that he had no doubt that
the vessel had been carrying newly-minted money to some one of the
Spanish provinces when she had been cast on the beach—probably in a
south-easterly gale. From what they had already found, he thought that
there might have been from forty to fifty thousand dollars in her all
together, and that there might be from thirty to forty thousand dollars
yet left under the sand. He said that he would undertake to find the
rest of the money, and that he would send or take out a ship stocked
with provisions for that purpose, the expense of which he would bear
himself. That all wages and expenses above that should be paid out
of the money that they should find, and that the net gain should be
shared equally between them, each taking a third. “Or,” said he, in
conclusion, “I will buy either or both of your interests out, accepting
all the risks myself. I will give you each six thousand dollars for
your share in the venture, for which I offer a note payable at ninety
days, with safe indorsement.” He then said that he would give them a
week to think over the offer he had made, and would be glad to hear
anything that they might have to propose.

I will say here, that at the end of a week they had made up their minds
to run their chances of what might be found, and that it paid them to
do so.

A little later in the morning Captain Williamson and Mr. Winterbury and
Jack and Tom went ashore in the captain’s gig. They left the gig and
the crew of it a little distance up the beach, while they four walked
down to the hut, Tom and Jack carrying a small sea-chest between them,
in which to store the money that was hidden under a pile of brush-wood
in the cabin. Then they went out on the sand-spit to inspect the wreck,
and Captain Williamson renewed the offer that he had made in the cabin
of the _Baltimore_, and said again that they might take a week to think
it over.

Then they tore down the breakwater that Tom and Jack had built, so
that the sea might make in during the next storm, and so hide the work
that they had done. After this they went back to the gig, and Captain
Williamson sent four of the men to the hut for the chest of money.

So, at last, their life upon the island came to an end.

They had a safe and quick journey home, entering Sandy Hook on the 20th
of the month. They were quarantined for a couple of days through some
delay, and landed in New York on the 23d.

During the voyage home, Jack gave Captain Williamson an account of the
loss of the _Hazlewood_. The captain looked very serious over it; he
did not say anything, but he shook his head. He evidently thought that
it was a very shady piece of business.

The day after they landed in New York, Jack and Tom took stage to
Philadelphia, which they reached a little after noon of the 26th.

You all know what followed. The Board of Trade appointed a committee
to inquire into the circumstances of the loss of the ship _Nancy
Hazlewood_. Tom did not write a letter home, because he expected that
every day would be his last in town; but the investigation dragged
along until more than a week had been consumed by the committee.

Both Tom and Jack were blamed, because that they had come off with
their lives, while the captain and most of the crew had gone down
in the ship. Mr. Blakie, of the firm of Blakie & Howard, said some
particularly bitter and cutting things, which might have stung Tom very
sharply if he had not felt that, by rights, there was not much blame
resting upon him.

Mr. Blakie’s words were meant as much for him as they were for Jack,
for it was not known that Tom had been taken off the vessel against
his will. Jack did not breathe a word of this, and Tom was too proud
to seem to want to slip from under the blame, and leave Jack to bear
it all. Jack did not say in so many words that Tom had joined him in
deserting the ship in the cutter, but what he did say would have led
any reasonable man to infer as much. It is quite natural that a man
should dislike to carry all of a load of blame on his own shoulders,
and there is a great satisfaction in knowing that others share the
burden; at the same time, it would have been a good thing for Tom, if
Jack had spoken out and told the whole truth, for, as it turned out, it
weighed in the balance against him when every scruple told.

But at last the committee dismissed Tom, and he was free to go; little
he cared then of their favorable or unfavorable opinion, for the time
had come when he might go home.

There was just time to catch the morning stage for Eastcaster, and in
half an hour he was rumbling out of Philadelphia, mounted, pipe in
mouth, on the outside of the _Union_ stage, with his boxes and bundles
safely stowed away in the boot.



PART III



CHAPTER XIV.


IT seemed to Tom, now that he was fairly on the homeward road, as
though the wheels of the stage were weighted with lead, and as though
the horses that dragged it crawled at a snail’s pace, for his hopes
and his longing for home outstripped a thousand fold the rate of his
traveling.

To P., 18 M.—14 M. to E.; to P., 19 M.—13 M. to E.; to P., 20 M.—12 M.
to E. So passed the milestones in succession, and Tom counted every one
as they rumbled by it. But at last it was 2 M. to E., and a steep hill
lay in front of them; it was the last hill between him and home.

Tom had taken the _Union_ line of stages, which did not, like the
_Enterprise_ line, run on to Downeyville, but stopped at Eastcaster.
The driver of “No. 3” was a stranger to Tom; old Willy Wilkes had
heretofore driven the stage as long as he could remember.

“Where’s old Willy Wilkes?” said Tom, soon after they had left
Philadelphia.

The strange driver let fly an amber stream of tobacco juice over the
side of the coach, and answered, briefly, “Dead.”

“Dead!”

“Ya-as. Caught cold last spring and died in June;” then, with some
curiosity, “Did you know him?”

“Yes, I knew him,” said Tom, briefly. Here was the first change, and
it threw a cloud over him; was he to find other changes as great? He
had only been gone a year and a half, but it seemed to him as though it
might have been ten years. There was a pause of a few minutes, and the
new driver of “No. 3” looked furtively at Tom from out the corners of
his eyes. Tom had not cut off his beard, and his hair had turned iron
grey in the last five months; he knew that he was greatly changed.

It was Tom’s beard that seemed to catch the driver’s eye, for folks
went clean-shaven in those days.

“I allow you’re from foreign parts,” said he, at last.

“Yes; I’m from foreign parts,” said Tom, shortly. Nothing more was said
between them after this. Tom sat buried in thoughts and the driver sat
chewing vigorously at his quid of tobacco, looking steadfastly over the
leader’s ears the whiles.

So they began the slow climbing of the last hill; they reached the top
of the rise, and then the country lay spread out before them, hill
and valley, field, meadow-land and wood, all brown and golden in the
mellow autumn sunlight. The houses clustered more thickly about the
village, and over the rusting foliage peeped the white spire of St.
James’ Church. A lump arose in Tom’s throat at the sight of the dear
old place, and his eyeballs felt hot and dry. Then a keen and sudden
thrill shot through him, for, away beyond the village and over to the
right, he could see the yellow sunlight shining on the white walls of a
house. Close to it stood an old stone mill and back of it was an apple
orchard. Then Tom felt, indeed, that his darling was near to him.

The driver gathered up his reins. “Click!” said he, and the coach
dashed down the hill, and house and mill were hidden from Tom’s sight.
So they reached the level road and went rumbling along it; they turned
the corner and Eastcaster was before them. The scattered houses grew
thicker and thicker; they turned another corner sharply and were in
Market street.

Everything was the same as when Tom had last seen them: trees, houses,
stores, people, everything. Shipwreck, death, loneliness and misery
had been around him for a year and a half, and yet Eastcaster was the
same as though he had not come back to it through the valley of the
shadow of death. It seemed strange to him that it should be so; it was
as though he had left everything but yesterday. Here was Pepperill’s
store, there the blacksmith shop. They passed Parkinson’s tobacco
store; a number of men were sitting on chairs around the door in the
sunshine. They looked up at the stage with dull interest. Tom knew
them all, but not one of them recognized him. A little further along,
on the opposite side of the street, was Mr. Moor’s office. As they
rumbled by it, Tom saw that two men were standing at the window looking
absently into the street; one of them was Mr. Moor, the other was Isaac
Naylor. A thrill darted through him when he saw Isaac Naylor; it was
strange that the sight of his former rival should seem to bring Patty
so near to him. The two men looked at the stage as it passed, but they
saw nothing, for their minds were evidently fixed upon other things.
Mr. Moor was talking, looking anxious and worried; Isaac Naylor was
listening, cold and impassive.

Tom noticed this in the moment that he was passing.

Then the stage stopped, for it was in front of the _Crown and Angel_,
and Black Jim—the identical Black Jim that Tom had left a year and a
half ago, who was standing out in the road, waiting the coming of the
stage—loosened the straps at the horses’ necks. The passengers tumbled
out from the inside, and Tom got down from the box, and stood looking
about him. There were a group of loungers sitting along the tavern
porch in the warm sunlight; their feet on the railing, and their chairs
tilted back. Tom knew nearly all of them, but they did not recognize
him;—he never fully realized till then, how changed he was in his
appearance. Even Mrs. Bond, the landlady, who was standing at the door
with her hands under her apron, did not know him.

Some one came walking along the street and stopped, for a moment, to
look at the stage—it was Will Gaines. “He’ll know me, at least,” said
Tom, to himself, but he did not; he looked at Tom, but there was no
other light than that of curiosity in his eyes.

“Will,” said he, at last; “Will Gaines, don’t you know me?”

Then sudden recognition flashed into Will’s face. He stood for a moment
as though bereft of speech; then he strode forward, and clutched Tom by
the shoulder.

“My God! Tom Granger; is it—is it you? They said you were dead! I—I—”
Then he stopped, and Tom felt his hands trembling as they lay on his
shoulders.

“Dead!” said Tom, after a moment of silence.

“Yes, Tom; dead.”

“But I’m not dead,” said Tom, smiling, and trying to shake off the
feeling that was creeping over him.

“Don’t! Don’t talk that way, Tom,” said Will; “don’t make so light of
it. Your father had a letter from Lovejoy & Co., of Philadelphia. It
was nearly a year ago, now; the letter said that your ship had been
lost, no one knew how or where. Tom,”—here he stopped abruptly—“Come
into the tavern, Tom,” said he.

As they went up the tavern steps and entered the door, the loungers
stared at them with wide-opened eyes. They did not recognize him, but
a stranger was an object of interest in the town in those days. Will
hurried him into the house, and Mrs. Bond showed them into the parlor.
There was something so odd in Will’s manner, that the feeling of fear
grew heavier and heavier on Tom’s spirit—the first words that he spoke,
were:

“Will, how’s Patty?”

Will did not answer immediately, and Tom, glancing quickly up, saw that
he was looking earnestly at him.

There was a moment of dead silence, through which sounded the clicking
of the dishes being washed in the out kitchen of the tavern.

“Will, how’s Patty?” said Tom, again, and he himself noticed what a
sharp ring there was in his voice. “Why don’t you speak? What’s the
matter? How’s Patty?”

“Patty?”

“Yes; Patty.”

“Patty? Oh! Patty’s all right.”

Tom looked at him very keenly. His heart was crumbling within him,
though he could not tell why. He felt faint and ill, and leaned heavily
on the table near him. He looked out of the window, watching Black
Jim watering the stage horses at the trough in the stable-yard; then,
without looking back at Will, he steadied himself for the next question.

“I’m no coward, Will,” said he; “you see I’ve gone through enough
this year to turn my hair grey, and I’m no coward now, if I ever was
before. I want you to tell me the truth; is—is Patty dead?”

“Dead! No; of course she isn’t dead. She was very much broken down when
she heard of the loss of the ship that you sailed in; but she’s all
right now,—well and hearty.”

“And she’s not sick—nothing the matter with her?”

“Nothing.”

Tom put his hand to his forehead, for things were swimming around
him; then he gave a short laugh, but there was a quaver in it. “You
frightened me pretty badly, Will,” said he; “I don’t deny that I felt
as though you were dragging my heart out by the roots.”

“See here, Tom, you don’t look well,” said Will; “let me call for a
glass of brandy for you.”

“I don’t want any brandy; I wouldn’t mind having a drop of water,
though.” There was a pitcher standing on the table beside him; he
tilted it and looked into it and saw that there was water in it; then
he raised it to his lips and took a deep draught of it. “What did you
scare me so for?” he said, half angrily, turning on Will again.

“I didn’t mean to scare you, Tom,” said the other; then he hesitated
for a moment or two. “Look here, Tom,” said he, “you’d better go home;
your mother has something to tell you. Your father was in town not half
an hour ago; I saw him at Bradley’s blacksmith shop. I wish to heavens
you’d been a little sooner; you might have ridden out home with him.
If you’ll wait a bit, I’ll slip over and borrow uncle’s gig and drive
you home.”

“I don’t want to wait; I’ll walk,” said Tom. Then, “Look here, Will;
what are you so anxious for me to go straight home for?”

“What makes you think that I’m anxious?”

“You ain’t answering my question, Will Gaines.”

“I have no reason for wanting you to go straight home, except that I
suppose your folks’ll want to see you.”

“Is that all?” said Tom, looking sharply at the other.

“Yes.”

Tom looked at him a little while longer, and then he turned away. He
did not believe Will, but he saw that nothing more was to be gotten out
of him.

“I’ll tell you what I’ll do,” said Will, presently, “you walk on out
home, and I’ll go over and get uncle’s gig and drive after you, and
pick you up. It won’t do to run in on your people without their knowing
of your coming. Your mother ought to know of it before she sees you.”

This was all very true, though Tom felt that Will’s plan was laid in
order to secure his going home without stopping. He said nothing of his
thoughts, however, but left the tavern, and started for home.

He walked briskly along the dusky turnpike road, but there was a dull
feeling of unhappiness resting upon his heart, for Will’s words, and
looks, and tones, all told him that there was something wrong. So he
came at last to the foot of the hill, where the turnpike road crosses
Stony-Brook by the old county bridge. On the other side of the stream
is a by-road that leads off from the highway and runs through the
woods. Tom knew it well, for it was the old mill road, and led to Elihu
Penrose’s house. Many a time had he walked it, and well he knew every
bend and turn of it. The last time he had passed along it his heart
had beaten high with love, and hope, and high resolve, albeit there
was the bitterness of a coming parting lurking at the bottom of it.
When he came to the spot where the mill road opens on the pike he stood
still, and, as he stood, all the fear that had rested upon him since
his homecoming seemed to gather and intensify into a dark and nameless
dread. What had happened? What could it all mean?

As his fears grew stronger his love waxed stronger with them. He looked
back along the turnpike road—there was no signs of Will Gaines. Why
should he go home, and not see his own dear love the first of all? “God
bless her!” said he, with quivering lips, “I’ll not go home first; I’ll
go and see her—my darling!”

So he left the highway, and walked down the road through the woods. The
brown leaves that were beginning to fall rustled beneath his feet, and
the yellow patches of sunlight slid over his head and shoulders as he
walked beneath the shadow of the grey trees along the roadside.

Then he came out of the woods and into the open sunlight again. Now he
was on the grass-bordered foot-path; on one side of him was the white
dusty road, and on the other the mill-race, with the row of pollard
willows standing along it. In front of him were the white walls of
the mill-house, with the vines clustered around the end of the old
well-remembered porch, just as he had seen them last. As he came closer
he saw a slender girl’s figure sitting in a high-backed rocking chair,
half hidden by the net-work of the vines around her.

It was Patty.

Tom’s heart gave a great leap within him; then stood still, and then
began to beat furiously. He paused for a moment, gazing at her, his
hand resting on the top of the picket fence in front of the garden;
then he went forward again, but very slowly.

She was sitting bent over some sewing that lay spread out on her lap.
He stood for a second or two at the green gate that led up to the
porch, and then he laid his hand on the latch. At the click of the
latch Patty raised her head, and Tom saw that she, like others that he
had met, did not know him.

She arose and stood watching him as he came slowly up the path; his
heart beating as though it would smother him.

He reached the porch;—one step,—two steps,—three steps,—and he stood
upon it and looked at her.

Then he saw a strange frightened look come slowly into her eyes; she
reached out her hand and laid it on the top of the rocking chair near
to her.

“Patty!”

There was a space of dead silence, through which Tom heard and noticed
the sound of rushing water and the clattering of the mill. He did not
go a step forward, for, as he looked at her, there was that in her face
that chilled him through and through—it was as though a gulf had opened
between them.

Her face was as white as death, and Tom saw the fingers of the hand
that rested on the top of the rocking chair, quivering nervously. She
moistened her lips with her tongue, and at last she spoke, but in a
hoarse whisper, and so low that he could hardly hear the matter of the
words:

“Tom—Tom—Oh, my God, Tom! is that thee?”

“Yes, Patty; it’s me! I’ve come back to thee after a sorely long time!
Why don’t thee speak—why don’t thee say something to me? What’s the
matter, Patty?”

“Wait—wait—let me think!” said she, putting her finger to her forehead,
“they all told me that thee was dead—they said that thee was drowned.
Can dead people come back again?”

“Patty! Patty!” cried Tom, “my own darling! tell me; what does this
mean?”

By this time the tears were running in streams down her pale cheeks;
she made no effort to wipe them away, and did not seem to know that
they were flowing.

“What is the matter?—Patty, tell me,” said Tom, again.

“Oh, Tom! I—I—am going to be married to-morrow!”

I do not know how long it was that Tom stood there, staring blankly at
her. His throat was dry and husky, and he felt the muscles of his face
twitching every now and then. It was Patty who broke the silence.

“Tom!” she cried, in a choking voice; “dear Tom! don’t look at me in
that way—thee breaks my heart! Say something kind to me, Tom—speak to
me!”

“Who’s thee going to—who’s the man, Patty?” said Tom, dully.

“Isaac Naylor. Oh, Tom! I was urged to it so that I couldn’t help
myself. They all told me that thee was dead. Even thy mother said thee
was drowned!”

The muscles of Tom’s throat had tightened until he felt as though he
was choking. He stood as though uncertain what to do, for a little
while; then he said, “I—I guess I’d better go—go home, now; there’s no
use my staying any—any longer.” Then he turned away and went stumbling
blindly down the porch steps. He reached the gate and fumbled for a
little while, hunting for the latch; then he opened it and went out
into the road. There were a few chickens dusting themselves in the
path; he stood looking stupidly at them for a little while, his hands
hanging limp at his sides. Then he turned and walked heavily away,
without looking back.



CHAPTER XV.


TOM GRANGER walked along, scarcely knowing where he was going. After a
while he stopped and looked about him, and he saw that he was standing
in the road not far from the highway. Around him was the silent woods;
in front of him was the sunny highroad, about three hundred paces
farther on. He felt that he could not go out into it just now. He flung
himself down on the grassy roadside, burying his face in his arms,
giving himself up utterly to the despair that was upon him. No sound
broke the silence of the autumn woodland but the gurgle of the rocky
brook across the road, the sudden rustle of the trees as the breeze
rushed through them now and then, and the rattling of the dead leaves
stirred by a breath of air.

Tom lay heeding nothing, thinking nothing, for his heart was too full
of the bitterness of his troubles to give place to aught else. How long
he lay there he cannot tell; that which aroused him was the sound of
footsteps coming down the road from the highway. Then he sprang to his
feet, for he could not bear that any one should find him lying there.
He saw that it was Isaac Naylor who was coming. Then Tom strode out
into the road and stood directly in front of him, so that the other
could not pass him.

“Does thee know who I am, Isaac Naylor?” said he; then, without waiting
for an answer, “I’m Tom Granger!”

Maybe the Friend’s face grew a trifle whiter than it was used to be;
nevertheless, he stood his ground, though he looked around and behind
him, as though to see whether any help was near to him in case that
the need for it should arise. I have no doubt but that Tom’s face was
white, his eyes bloodshot, and that he looked wicked and dangerous as
he stood in the pathway in front of the other. For a while Isaac stood
with bent head and with hands that trembled a little clasped in front
of him. But presently he raised his face and looked calmly into Tom’s
eyes.

“I heard in town that thee had come back, Thomas,” said he, “and I was
both glad and sorry to hear it. I was glad that the Good Father had
spared thy life and sorry that thee had come back just now. I see where
thee’s been and I know what thee’s heard. I’m sorry—very sorry.”

Tom steadied himself for a moment before he spoke. When he replied,
it was in a heavy, monotonous voice: “Yes; I’ve been to see Patty and
she’s told me all. I do believe it’ll break her heart. Poor girl! poor
girl!” Then he stopped for a moment. Hitherto he had spoken in a low,
dull voice; but as he thought of Patty’s grief, his self-restraint
gave way and he burst out passionately, “She’s mine, Isaac Naylor—she’s
mine! She loves me and no other man in all the world! By the eternal,
neither thee nor any other man shall take her from me! I’ll let no man
take her from me; I don’t care who he may be!”

He waved his hands about furiously as he spoke, clapping his palms
together and pouring the words out upon one another in a torrent. Isaac
Naylor must have had some fear that Tom would do him a harm in his
passion, for he stepped a pace back. “Come, come, Thomas!” said he,
soothingly; “don’t be violent; I’ve done thee no harm—at least, I’ve
done thee no witting harm. Every one said that thee was dead; even thy
own people said so. Go thy ways, Thomas, and let me go mine in peace.
Come; let me past!”

“No, by G-d! Thee’ll not go a step from this till I let thee. Thee
shan’t see Patty this day! She’s mine and no other man shall have her
for his wife! Will thee give her up to me, Isaac Naylor? Will thee give
her up? Will thee give her up, I say?”

Every time he repeated this he came a step forward and Isaac moved a
step back. Tom was more than half crazy with his fury and the Friend
seemed very anxious and looked back at the road.

“Thomas! Thomas!” said he, “don’t be violent; be reasonable; how could
I make thee any such promise as that? Let me past, I must see Patty;
there’s reason why I must see her now.”

“Will thee give my darling back to me again?”

“I tell thee, Thomas, it can’t be done. I cannot do it!”

“Thee won’t do it?” Tom stepped forward as he spoke, waving his fist
threateningly, and again Isaac stepped backward before him, until he
stood against the fence at the roadside, and could go no farther; his
face was very white now, and he was in deadly terror. “Let me go,
Thomas,” said he, in a trembling voice; “let me go—I’ll not go to
Patty; I’ll go back home again.” As he spoke he made a movement to
turn, as though to escape.

Tom’s head was in a mad whirl; there was a ringing in his ears, and
bright sparks danced and swam before his eyes. “By the eternal! thee’ll
never leave this place, Isaac Naylor,” cried he, in a terrible voice.

Then Isaac gave a shrill cry—“Help! Help!” As the words left his lips,
Tom leaped upon him, and grappled with him. He struggled furiously,
and Tom heard him give another sharp and terrible cry. Tom twisted his
fingers into the Friend’s neckerchief, and, after that he made no other
noise but a half-choked, strangling gurgle. Tom dragged him backward,
and flung him down upon his knees. There was a rough-knotted stake
lying by him; it was a part of a fence rail. He picked it up and raised
it to strike.

I thank the Lord that his reason came back to him when it did. Another
moment, and he would have been beating the life out of the poor
terrified wretch at his knee. But suddenly, as though a cloud passed
from before his eyes, he saw the white horror-struck face, the parted
lips, and the staring eyes that were glaring up at him. Then he gave a
cry so sharp that it rang in his own ears, and flinging down the stake,
loosened his hold on Isaac.

He stood for a moment staring at the Friend, who staggered to his feet,
and then sank down on a great rock that lay near to them, swaying this
way and that, as though he were about to faint. Then Tom turned and ran.

The next minute he was out in the highroad.

Beside the bridge was a shallow pool, through which folks drove their
teams in the summer time, and where they often stopped to water their
horses. There was a black horse standing in the shallow now, and a man
was sitting upon its back. Tom looked up as he ran out into the road,
and saw that it was Mr. Moor.

Mr. Moor’s eyes were fixed upon his own with a very singular look, and
it struck Tom how white his face was. But all this he saw only in one
quick glance, for he turned the corner of the road, and ran toward home
without stopping. There was a long and steep hill in front of him,
and before he reached the top he fell into a walk, for he was panting
and laboring for breath. After a while he reached the crest of the
hill, and before him lay a level stretch of road; some distance along
it he could see the tall cedars that stood around the old homestead
farm-house. At last he came to where the long lane ran winding down
from the house amongst the maple and ailanthus trees, and opened on the
turnpike road through a gate that always stood open. Then Tom broke
into a run again; up the lane he went, and so came at last to the
paved porch at the back of the house, noticing as he passed, that Will
Gaines’ horse and gig were standing beside the horse block across the
road. Then he burst into the house, and into the best room.

All of the shutters were bowed but one, which was half opened, giving a
faint light into the darkened room. Tom’s father and mother, his sister
Susan, and his two elder brothers and Will Gaines were all there. His
mother was sitting in a rocking chair, the tears running down her pale
face, and Susan was fanning her with a palm-leaf fan. Will Gaines had
told them of his coming, and Tom afterward found that his mother had
fainted, and had only just recovered from her swoon.

“Mother!” cried he, and he ran to her and flung himself on his knees in
front of her, burying his face in her lap, while great sobs shook him
through and through.

No one spoke for a long time, but Tom felt his mother’s soft touch
smoothing his hair. I think that they were all weeping at that time.
I know that Susan was crying on the corner of the sofa, where she had
flung herself, burying her face in the cushion. It was Will Gaines who
spoke first.

“I guess I’ll go now,” said he, in a broken voice; and Tom presently
heard him shutting the door softly behind him.

Then another space of dead silence followed, broken only by Susan’s
catching breath. At last Tom’s mother spoke.

“Where has thee been, Thomas?” said she.

“I’ve been to see Patty, mother.”

“Oh, Tom! Tom!” cried Susan; and Tom could feel his mother’s hand
trembling as it rested upon his head. Presently she spoke in an
unsteady voice:

“Leave us for a little while, father; it’ll be best—just for a little
while.”

Then the others went out, and they were left alone. Tom told all about
his meeting with Patty, in broken and disconnected words. Every now and
then he would stop, for there were times when the words that he sought
to say would not come. He felt that his mother was crying, though she
was crying silently. It was good for him to tell all of his troubles,
for there are times when our sorrows gather upon us like great waters,
that will overwhelm the soul if they do not find an outlet in speech.

Tom’s mother knew of the comfort that words bring with them, so she let
him talk on, without saying anything herself. When he had ended, she
spoke gentle and loving words to him, though she could give him no hope.

“I wish that I’d not seen Patty,” said Tom; “I wish that I’d come
straight home as Will told me to do. Why didn’t he tell me of all
this?”

“I suppose that he couldn’t bring himself to do it.”

“I wish I’d not seen her,” said Tom, again.

“It’s too late for wishing now,” said his mother.

Nothing more was said between them, and both knew that the marriage
must be gone through with now. The time had been fixed for the wedding.
It was for eleven o’clock the next morning. The friends had all been
asked, the new house was furnished, the linen provided, and even
Patty’s dresses made. It could not be stopped without great scandal to
all concerned. If only he had not come back again. Then Patty would
have been married quietly to a man whom she could respect, if not love,
and her life would not have been without contentment. But now that she
had seen him, what contentment could she have, loving him and marrying
another man?

At last they quitted the room together; but the first bitterness had
passed and gone. The first one whom he met was Susan. She flung her
arms around his neck and kissed him, the tears brimming in her eyes as
she did so.

“Dear, dear Tom,” said she, and Tom knew from the tone of her voice
that she was thinking of Patty, though her name had not been spoken
betwixt them.

“Don’t, Susan,” said he, huskily, for his heart was still very sore.

Then his father came and shook hands with him, as did William also,
and presently John came over from the barnyard and joined them. This
was all of the family that were at home, for Henry was in a store in
Lancaster and Mary was visiting friends in Chester.

Friends, of the old times especially, were a restrained, self-repressed
people, giving but little freedom to the flow of natural feeling. Tom’s
father and his brothers had been moved—deeply moved; but now, when they
came forward to shake him by the hand, excepting for the closeness of
the grip that they gave him and the firmness of the pressure of palm
to palm, no one would have thought that he had returned to them as the
dead might return from the grave. It was, so far as any outward forms
were concerned, as though he had but just come home after a two weeks’
absence.

After a few hesitating words of welcome, the men folks sat down and Tom
began telling of those things that had befallen him in the year and a
half past. He spun his yarn pretty steadily, though every now and then
he would stop in his speech, for as he told of the finding of the money
on the island, his words brought before him all of those hopes that had
borne him up through the toil; then a rush of feeling would sweep over
him as he thought how all this had been taken out of his life, and he
would stop in his talking to steady himself. He said nothing of this to
the others, but I think that they all felt the sorrow that was lying at
the bottom of his heart. Then they sat down to supper.

Tom’s father tried to turn the talk more cheerfully.

“We haven’t told thee the great news, Thomas,” said he.

“What is it?” said Tom.

“Thee sees, thy coming upset us all, so that we didn’t think of it.
Thee tell him, Susan.”

Susan looked down, and the color rose in her face.

“What is the news?” said Tom, again.

“Well,” said his father, “as Susan don’t seem inclined to tell thee,
I suppose I must do it myself. How would thee like Will Gaines for a
brother?”

Tom did not speak for a moment, then he said, a little unsteadily; “I—I
wish thee joy, Susan; thee’s chosen a good man for thy husband, and I
believe he’ll make thee happy.”

Then they were silent for a while.

“When is thee going to be married?” said Tom again, at last.

“The time’s not fixed yet; some time in the eleventh month, I guess.”

After a while Tom’s father spoke.

“What’s thee going to do now, Thomas?” said he.

“I don’t know exactly,” said Tom, huskily; “I’m going to Philadelphia
again on the first stage to-morrow.”

His mother looked earnestly at him, and the tears rose in her eyes, and
rolled slowly down her cheeks; then she pushed back her chair, and left
the table hurriedly.

Presently they all arose and went into the sitting-room. There was a
fire burning in the fireplace, for, though the days were warm, the
evenings were cool and frosty. The four men sat down around the fire,
smoking and talking together in a rambling fashion. Their words were
constrained, for each felt upon his mind the parting that was to come
to-morrow.

So the time passed until the old clock in the corner struck nine. Then
Tom’s father arose in the way that Tom knew so well, and lit his candle
with one of the paper lamplighters on the mantle shelf. Before he left
the room he came to Tom and laid his hand on his shoulder.

“Thy burthen’s heavy, Thomas,” said he; “bear it like a man.”

“I’ll try,” said Tom.

“I wish that we could have thee longer with us, but thee’s doing right
to go; thee mustn’t stay in the neighborhood just now.” He stood for a
moment as though he were about to say something more; he did not speak
again, however, but presently turned and left the room.

Such was Tom’s home-coming after a year and a half of shipwreck and
misery. How had he looked forward to that home-coming, and how had it,
like dead sea fruit, turned to bitterness in the mouth! Truly, it is
kind in the good Father that he has given us to look into the past, and
not forward into that which is to come. What hope would there be left
in the world, if we could know the sorrows that were to come upon us in
time?



CHAPTER XVI.


IT oftentimes comes in this world that cares and troubles fall upon
one, not in one deadly blow, but in stroke after stroke, as though to
bear the man to the earth with their constant beating. Surely men’s
souls are of tough fibre that they can so bend beneath such blows,
beaten down only to rise again, bruised, wounded, but living. There
is within a man a courage bred of hope that lives even in the darkest
moments; a courage that lifts him up again out of the dust and supports
him along his way, lame and sore, perhaps, but not broken down utterly.

So it was with Tom. Bitter troubles had come upon him during the past
year and a half, and the bitterest and darkest of all had fallen upon
him the day before. Still more were to come, and yet he has lived
through these and others until his life has covered a span of nigh four
score and ten, and at the end of them all he can still say that life is
a pleasant thing.

Tom was up at the peep of day, for there were some things that he
wished to take with him, and the packing of them must be done before
breakfast time. He was to leave on the Enterprise stage, which passed
the house about eight o’clock.

Little was said amongst the members of the family during breakfast
time, and only a few words were spoken about his going. Half-past seven
came and then Tom stood up and kissed his mother and Susan. Susan clung
to him weeping; his mother’s eyes were full of tears, but they did not
flow over.

“The Lord bless thee, my son!” said she, with trembling lips. These
were all the words that she spoke.

“Come, Thomas,” said his father at last; “the stage’ll soon be along,
and thee’ll miss it if thee don’t look out. I’ll walk down to the road
with thee.”

“Farewell, William,” said Tom, shaking hands with his brother.

“Farewell, Thomas.”

“John—”

“I guess I’ll walk down to the road with thee, Thomas. Let me carry thy
bundle,” said John.

“Never mind; it’s very light,” said Tom.

They were silent as they went down the lane, and silent for a while as
they stood at the roadside waiting for the stage; each was occupied
with his own thoughts. At last John broke through the painful silence.
“The stage is mighty late this morning,” said he, in a constrained
voice.

“Thee’ll write to us, won’t thee, Thomas?” said his father, looking
away as he spoke.

“Yes,” said Tom.

“Yonder’s the stage coming down Wilkes’ Hill,” said John.

But it was destined that Tom was not to go to Philadelphia that day on
the _Enterprise_ stage, or for some time to come.

“Who’s that coming up the road yonder,” said John.

“It looks like William Gaines,” said Tom’s father.

“It _is_ Will Gaines,” said Tom.

So Will came galloping up to them, and then all three men saw from his
face that he was the bearer of strange news. He leaped from his horse
without a word of greeting, or without seeming to wonder why the three
were standing there. His mind was too preoccupied to give attention to
anything but his thoughts.

“Have you heard what’s happened?” said he.

“No.”

“What?”

Will hesitated for a moment and then said, in a solemn voice: “Isaac
Naylor has been murdered!”

There was a space of dead silence.

“Isaac Naylor murdered!” said Tom’s father under his breath. Will
nodded his head; he was looking straight at Tom; his face was very pale
and there was a troubled, anxious look in his eyes.

“Murdered!” repeated John, mechanically, “where, when, how?”

“Ephraim Whiteley and his colored man found him at five o’clock this
morning; his scull was beaten in with a piece of fence-rail!”

“My God!” cried Tom. He put his hand to his forehead, for horrible
thoughts were passing through his mind. Could he—could he have killed
Isaac? Was it a creation of his fancy that had left him sitting upon
the rock, half strangled, but otherwise unhurt?

“Where did they find him?” said John, in a low voice.

“On the old mill road, about three hundred yards from the turnpike.”

Tom looked slowly about him; was he dreaming? Did he really hear the
words that Will spoke?

The Philadelphia coach had come up to them, but no one had noticed its
coming. They must have showed by their faces that something strange
had happened, for the coach stopped when it came to where they were
standing.

“What’s the matter?” cried old John Grundy, from the box.

“Isaac Naylor’s been murdered,” said John, in a low voice.

“My Lord! Isaac Naylor murdered!” Then, after a moment’s
pause—“Where?—How?—When?” A half a dozen heads were thrust out of the
coach windows by this time—they all listened in silence while John
repeated that which Will had just told them. The coach went on down the
road, but it did not take Tom with it.

Then Will turned to Tom—“Tom, I want to speak to you for a minute,”
said he.

Tom stepped aside with him, without answering.

Will was holding his horse by the reins; he did not speak for a moment
or two, but stood as though thinking what to say.

“Tom, have you seen Isaac Naylor since you’ve come back?” said he, at
last.

“Yes.”

“Where?”

Tom hesitated before he spoke.

“Where?” said Will, again.

“At—at the place where they found him this morning,” said Tom. He
looked straight at Will as he spoke, but Will turned his eyes away.

“Tom,” said he, “there’s a warrant out for your arrest.”

“Mine!”

“Yes; yours, Tom. I expect the constable’s on his way from Eastcaster
now. Anyway, there’s no time to lose. Here’s a horse ready for you;
jump on her and leave the country!”

“Will.”

“Well; what is it?”

“Do you believe that I killed Isaac Naylor?”

Will did not answer, but stood looking fixedly on the ground.

“Never mind; I don’t ask you to answer me, Will. I’ll tell you,
however, that I did not do it. I’ll stay and face the music.”

Then Tom turned and called his father and John. “Father—John—did you
hear what Will said?”

“No.”

“He said that there’s a warrant out against me for this thing.”

“A warrant out against thee?”

“Yes.”

“But thee hasn’t seen Isaac Naylor since thee came home, Thomas,” said
his father.

“Yes, I did, father.”

“Where?”

“At the very place where he was murdered.”

Then he told all that had passed between him and Isaac Naylor, and of
how near he had come to doing that of which he was accused. His father
listened without a word, looking deeply and fixedly into Tom’s eyes the
while. John was looking intently at him, too. Will was standing, turned
half away. When Tom had ended, his father spoke to him in a low voice:

“Thomas.”

“Well?”

“Is—is that all? Has thee told us all?”

“Yes, father.”

“Why didn’t thee speak of it before?”

“I couldn’t bear to do it. I was afraid to tell how I had treated
him—an overseer in the meeting.”

Tom’s heart crumbled within him at the silence that followed his words.

“Father,” he said, “so help me God, my hands are clean of this thing.
Does thee suppose I’d have come home if I’d done it?”

“Wait a minute, Thomas; I’m thinking,” said his father. He stood
picking at his finger-tips, and looking earnestly at them. At last he
raised his head. “I don’t believe that thee did do it, Thomas. I can’t
believe it.”

“Neither can I!” burst out John. “My brother couldn’t do a thing like
that. My mother’s son couldn’t kill a man. I don’t believe it, and I
can’t believe it!”

The tears sprang into Tom’s eyes at these words. He looked at Will, but
Will’s head was still turned away. “Here comes the constable,” said he,
at last, in a low voice.

A horse and gig had come up from behind Stony-Brook Hill. When it
reached the level road between them and the crest of the rise the nag
broke into a trot.

“Yes, that’s Johnson’s team,” said John, and then he turned his head
away.

They all stood silently until at last the gig came up to where they
were. The constable and his deputy were both in it. The constable drew
up the horse, and threw the reins to the deputy. Then he stepped out
and came over to where the others were standing, drawing a paper out of
his breast-pocket as he did so. He had not said a word up to this time.

“I know what you’re coming for,” said Tom; “I’m ready to go with you,
Johnson.”

“The Lord knows—I’d rather lose a hundred dollars, than have to do
this,” said the constable.

“I believe you would,” said Tom.

“Can thee wait a little while, Eben?” said Tom’s father; “I’d like to
drive over to Squire Morrow’s along with you. I’ll slip up to the house
and gear Nelly to the wagon; it won’t take me a minute.”

The constable drew a watch out of his fob, and looked at it. “I guess
I can wait a little bit, Mr. Granger,” said he; “the witnesses weren’t
all at the squire’s when I left. You’ll have to step into the gig
though, Tom, and I’ll—I’ll have to put cuffs on you.”

“Will you have to do that?”

“I’m afraid I will;”—he drew the hand-cuffs out of his pocket as he
spoke; there was a sharp “click! click!” and Tom felt the cold iron
circling his wrists.

His father groaned, and when Tom looked at him, he saw that his face
was as white as wax. He turned, and he and John walked slowly up the
lane toward the house.

Then Tom stepped to the gig, and climbed in beside the deputy
constable. Johnson went to the roadside, and sat down on the bank. He
sat with his elbows resting on his knees, and his hands hanging clasped
together between them. Will stood leaning against the pailing fence,
and nothing was said, excepting once when the constable spoke to his
deputy.

“Better turn the hoss, Jos; you won’t have to do it then when Mr.
Granger and John come back.”

After a while they saw John drive the farm-wagon over from the stable
to the house. William was sitting beside him and presently Tom’s father
came out of the house and climbed slowly into it. Then they drove down
the road to where the others were waiting.

“Father, how did mother take the news?” said Tom.

“Very well! Very well! Better than I expected,” said his father,
briefly; then he turned to Will: “Thee’d better go up to the house,
William; I’d like thee to stay with mother and Susan while we’re gone.”

Will mounted his horse without a word, and, turning into the lane,
galloped up to the house beneath the shadows of the trees.

“Are you all ready?” said the constable, standing with one foot on the
step of the gig.

“All ready.”

Then he climbed in and they all drove away toward Eastcaster.



CHAPTER XVII.


AS the gig rattled down the hill and past the end of Penrose’s road,
Tom leaned forward and looked up toward the spot where he had met Isaac
Naylor the day before. A knot of people had gathered about the place
where the body had been found, collected there by the morbid curiosity
that stirs men at such a time; they were talking earnestly together,
some sitting on the fence, some leaning against it.

At last they reached the level road that led into Eastcaster, and the
nag broke into a trot. The houses were clustered more thickly together
around the outskirts of the town. Of course, the news had spread
everywhere, and knots of people were gathered here and there talking
the matter over. As the gig with the three men in it rattled along the
stony street, the talk would be hushed in these groups, and the people
would turn and gaze at the constables and their prisoner. Tom had not
realized all that he would have to pass through till now; he had not
known what it would be to have his neighbors and old acquaintances
staring at him with that look of mixed curiosity and horror. He shrunk
together in the gig back of the constables, striving to hide himself
behind them. Johnson must have known how he felt, for he laid the whip
to the horse and drove on as fast as possible.

At last they reached Squire Morrow’s office, at the corner of Market
and Andover streets. It was a small, dark two-storied building, with
an old-fashioned hipped roof;—it has since been torn down to make way
for Prettyman’s new store. A great crowd had gathered around the corner
about the squire’s office, and they could see through the windows that
the room was packed with the people inside. The gig drew up to the
sidewalk and the constable stepped down out of it.

“You’ll have to get down, now, Tom,” whispered Jos Giddings, the
deputy, in Tom’s ear. Then Tom stepped out and the deputy followed him.
The constable had a great deal of trouble in pushing his way through
the people, for they crowded up very closely to get a look at Tom. He
walked with his eyes fixed straight ahead of him; he saw nothing but
the crown of the constable’s hat, but he knew, as well as though he had
looked about him, that a mass of faces were gazing at him with eager
and intense curiosity. He also knew that his father and his brothers,
John and William, had gotten out of the farm wagon and were following
close behind him.

“Stand out of the way there!” said the constable, in a loud voice,
as he pushed into the office, and then Tom found himself standing
beside a railing that separated the squire’s desk from the mass of
people packed into the body of the office. The light came through a
little window in the end of the room, so that Tom could see things
only duskily after coming in from the dazzling glare of the sunlight
outside. Mr. Morrow was sitting at his desk, leaning back in his chair,
with a very troubled look in his eyes. He was playing absently with a
pen that lay on the table in front of him.

“Won’t the prisoner sit down, constable?” said he; “he looks pretty
badly.”

“I don’t care to sit down,” said Tom, “I’d rather stand.” He was
resting with his handcuffed hands on the railing in front of him; after
a while he collected his courage, and then he looked slowly around him.

A number of people were sitting inside of the railing; the first one
that he saw was Patty Penrose, and on her his eyes lingered long and
painfully. She was very white, and dark rings encircled her eyes. She
sat with her handkerchief in her hand, and she wiped the slow tears
from her cheeks with it every now and then. Her father sat beside her,
looking very hard and stern. He did not glance at Tom until later in
the examination that followed. Just behind Elihu Penrose sat Mr. Moor.
He, too, was very pale, and every now and then he wiped his face with a
bandana handkerchief. Beside these three were Ephraim Whiteley and his
colored man, Mrs. Bond, the landlady of the _Crown and Angel_, and Dr.
Winterapple.

Then Tom looked up and saw that his father and his two brothers stood
beside him.

The first witness called was Ephraim Whiteley. He was tall, ungainly,
round shouldered and loose jointed. He was an elderly man; a very plain
Friend, and, like Isaac Naylor, was one of the overseers of the meeting.

Of course, he affirmed, for Friends are not allowed, by the Society,
to take oath as to the truth of evidence. He testified that he and his
colored man “Jim” were going to Downeyville with a load of potatoes.
They had started early in the morning—about five o’clock, he should
think. Had found deceased lying in front of the “big stone” beside
the roadside, about two or three hundred yards from the turnpike. Had
thought that it was some one who had been drinking—remembers that Jim
said something to that effect. Had not thought differently from this,
until he had come close to where deceased was lying. He noticed then a
dark stain on the collar, and also deceased’s plain coat—he knew that
something was wrong. He stopped the wagon, and he and Jim went over to
where the body was lying. Found a heavy knotted piece of wood lying
close to the deceased, and noticed that there was blood upon it. He
had turned deceased over; did not know who it was until he heard Jim
say, “Good Lord! it’s Mr. Naylor!” He and Jim lifted the body into the
wagon, and drove over to Elijah Hunt’s, thinking it best to take it to
deceased’s cousin. Had summoned the coroner at Elijah Hunt’s request.

The next witness called was James Madison Trusty (colored).

He was in Mr. Whiteley’s employ. He had gone with Mr. Whiteley to
take a load of potatoes to Downeyville. He had called Mr. Whiteley’s
attention to the body of the deceased. It was lying on it’s face in the
grass, close to the “big stone.” He had thought at first that it was
some one drunk. He had said to Mr. Whiteley that “there was a happy
man,” or, “that man ought to be happy,” or some such speech—could not
remember the exact words. He did not think much about it till Mr.
Whiteley stopped the cart and jumped out. Mr. Whiteley had turned the
body over, and he had recognized the face as that of Mr. Naylor—called
Mr. Whiteley’s attention to the same. Mr. Whiteley called on him to
lift deceased into the cart. He was very sick, and it was some time
before he could bring himself to touch the body.

(Doctor) Justin S. Winterapple was the next witness called.

He had made the post-mortem examination before the coroner’s jury.
There was the mark of only one contusion—it was at the base of the
cranium, immediately behind and under the right ear. The bone was
fractured as though with some heavy weapon. It might have been
done with the club or knotted piece of wood found lying beside the
deceased—thought altogether likely that it was done by it. He did not
think that the deceased died immediately upon receiving the blow.

All this was terrible to Tom; so terrible that he grasped the railing
in front of him, until his finger nails were livid with the force of
the grip. But what must it have been to Patty? Tom looked at her, and
the expression of her face made him forget his own troubles. “Oh, God!”
muttered he to himself, “that I should have come home to bring all this
upon her!”

The next witness called was Mrs. Bond.

She testified that the prisoner had come by the _Union_ line, in stage
No. 3, the day before. He and Mr. Gaines had met, and had gone into the
parlor; they had talked there a long time, and at last the prisoner
had come out, and had gone up Market street in the direction of his
home. She had not known the prisoner until Mr. Gaines had told her.
She remembered to have remarked how changed he was, and that she would
never have known him with his long beard and his grey hair.

Mr. Morrow looked vexed. “Why hasn’t Mr. Gaines been called?” said he;
“how is it he hasn’t been called? Where is he now?”

“He’s out at Mr. Milton Granger’s,” said the constable.

The magistrate “pished” and “pshawed,” but at last he said that they
might as well go on with the examination of the other witnesses, and
that they could send for Mr. Gaines if his evidence should be found to
be necessary.

The next witness called was Edmund R. Moor. The Bible was passed to
him to swear upon, but he pushed it hurriedly away from him and said
that he would affirm, and not swear to the truth of his statement. Mr.
Morrow seemed somewhat surprised, but he said nothing, and took Mr.
Moor’s affirmation as he desired. He then testified that he had been
with Isaac Naylor the afternoon before, at about four o’clock. The
deceased had come to consult him upon a matter of business concerning
some money that he, the witness, had invested for the other. He had
left him, saying that he was going down to White’s store for his
letters. He had seen deceased about half an hour later, walking up
Market Street. He, the witness, had been feeling ill all day, and had
quitted his office to step around to the stable for his horse, thinking
a ride might be of benefit to him. He had seen deceased turn into
Penrose’s road, and remembered to have heard him say, a little while
before, that he was going to see Elihu Penrose’s daughter, whom he was
engaged to marry.

Tom looked at Patty as Mr. Moor said these words, and saw her hide her
face with her trembling hands. He groaned when he saw the agony that it
caused her.

The witness then went on to say that he had thought no more of it, but
was watering his horse at the shallow, when he saw the prisoner run out
of the road and turn up the turnpike, in the direction of Granger’s
farmhouse.

The magistrate asked Mr. Moor several questions, in answer to which
he said that he had not known the prisoner, because of the beard and
the whiteness of his hair; he did not think of its being Mr. Thomas
Granger. He also said that he had gone on up the turnpike after he had
watered his horse; that he had not thought of anything having happened
to Isaac Naylor, and that he did not hear any cry or call for help, to
make him think that anything had gone wrong.

Mr. Moor was so white that the magistrate asked him if he was ill.

“I do feel sick,” said he. “I haven’t felt well since yesterday
morning. Maybe it’s the closeness of the room that makes me feel sick
now.”

He wiped his face with his bandana handkerchief as he spoke, for it was
wet with the sweat that ran trickling down his cheeks.

“I’m sorry you feel so sick, Mr. Moor,” said the magistrate.

“If you have no more use for me, I’d like to go,” said Mr. Moor.

Mr. Morrow said that he might leave now, if he wished, so he worked his
way through the crowd in the office, looking neither to the right nor
to the left, and so went into the street.

The next witness called was Patty Penrose, and she stood up, resting
her hand on the top of her chair as she did so. There was not a
particle of color in her face as she stood before the magistrate. A
strand of hair had fallen across her brow, but she did not brush
it back, or seem to notice it. Tom’s heart bled for her as he stood
looking at her.

“Will you swear or affirm?” said the magistrate.

“I affirm,” she answered, in a low voice. Then she repeated after
him the words of affirmation: “I do most solemnly affirm—that what I
tell—is the truth—the whole truth—and nothing but the truth.”

“When did you see the prisoner last?”

“Yesterday.”

“At what time was it?”

“In the afternoon.”

“But what time was it—at what time in the afternoon was it that you saw
him?”

She did not answer immediately, and Tom, as he looked at her, saw that
she was swaying, as though she was about to fall.

“Perhaps the witness had better sit down while she gives her evidence,”
said Mr. Morrow.

Patty did not seem to understand him, and her father spoke to her in a
low voice. Then she sat down mechanically, as though she did not know
what she was doing.

“Take courage, Patty!” burst out Tom. “God knows I am innocent of this!
God knows I am!”

“The prisoner must be silent!” said the magistrate, rapping on the desk
before him with his knuckles. Then, speaking to Patty again: “At what
hour in the afternoon was it that you saw him?”

Patty looked up and her eyes met Tom’s. He tried to smile. “Speak out,
Patty, and tell everything,” said he.

“About five o’clock,” said she, faintly.

“What was said between you?” said the magistrate.

There was a pause of dead silence, every one listening to catch the
answer. At last the magistrate, after waiting a while for her to speak,
repeated:

“Can you tell me what was said between you?”

There was another pause, and still Patty made no answer. Suddenly she
burst forth: “Oh, I can’t!—I can’t!—I can’t!” She covered her face
with her hands as she spoke, rocking her body back and forth, while
convulsive sobs shook her through and through.

I think that few eyes were dry in the magistrate’s office. Tom stood
looking at his darling with trembling lips, the tears trickling
unnoticed down his cheeks. Old Elihu Penrose sat gazing stonily ahead
of him, his hands clasped tightly together upon his lap.

Nothing was said for some time, and Mr. Morrow sat wiping his
spectacles. After a while he spoke in a gentle and soothing manner:
“You must answer me—you must, indeed. It is sad, very sad. I wouldn’t
ask you these things if I didn’t have to. But you must answer me. Can’t
you tell me what was said between you when you saw him last?”

“I—I—I told-him—that I was to—to be married—to-day.”

There was a moment of hesitation before the magistrate asked the next
question. Then it came;

“Was there a promise of marriage between you and the prisoner before he
left Eastcaster a year and a half ago?”

Again there was no answer given to Mr. Morrow’s question, and, after a
little pause, the magistrate repeated it.

Still Patty said nothing; her face sank lower, lower, lower upon her
breast and her hands slid helplessly to her lap; then she swayed slowly
from one side to the other. Tom was looking intently at her, and
suddenly he gave a sharp and bitter cry:—

“Catch her; she’s falling! My God, you’ve killed her!”

As he spoke she sank forward, and would have fallen if her father had
not caught her in his arms and so saved her. Then he looked at Tom for
the first time since he had come into the magistrate’s office.

“If she’s killed, it’s thy doings, Thomas Granger,” said he, in a low,
constrained voice. He stood grimly holding her, but all around him was
confusion and tumult. Mr. Morrow pushed his chair back hastily and
arose and Dr. Winterapple ran to her.

“Let her lie on the floor!” he cried, “she’s fainted! Some water,
quick!”

Her father laid her down upon the floor and Dr. Winterapple, snatching
up a pitcher of water that sat upon the table, began sprinkling her
face and bathing her temples. Mrs. Bond kneeled beside her, chafing and
slapping her hands.

Elihu Penrose sat down in his chair again, staring at Patty with the
same expressionless look that he had worn all along. After a while her
bosom rose with a deep, convulsive sigh and she partially unclosed her
eyes, moving her head from side to side. They lifted her up and sat her
in a chair, and Mrs. Bond fanned her. Then Tom turned to the magistrate.

“Mr. Morrow,” said he, “for the love of heaven, don’t torture her any
more; I’ll tell everything!”

“Take care,” said Mr. Morrow, warningly; “I tell you plainly that
what you say will be taken in evidence against you. Your case is dark
enough—don’t make it any blacker.”

“I don’t care how black the case is against me! I’d rather have
anything happen to me than have you make that poor girl convict me out
of her own mouth! I’ve kept my lips shut too long already.”

“I have only to say, take care what you say!” said the magistrate again.

“I’ll take care! You asked her if there was any promise of marriage
between us before I sailed away on this last cruise. There was a
promise of marriage! I’ll tell you farther—”

“I’ll have to commit you from your own lips, if there’s more such
evidence to come.”

“I don’t care!” said Tom, in a ringing voice, “I’ll tell you that I was
half crazy after I left her, for I didn’t know that she was going to be
married till she told me herself. I met Isaac Naylor at the very place
where he was killed, and I did use violence to him; but I neither
struck him nor killed him.”

“That’ll do,” said Mr. Morrow, “I’ll have to commit you for trial. I’d
have had to commit you, anyhow, even if you hadn’t spoken a word, for
there was evidence enough for it. I’m sorry for you; very sorry.”

He dipped his pen in the ink as he spoke, and began writing.

Tom’s father laid his horny palm on Tom’s hand as he stood clutching
the railing in front of him. “Thee’s done right to speak, even if it
weighs against thee, Thomas,” said he. The tears arose in Tom’s eyes at
his father’s words. All the time he had been speaking, he was looking
at Patty. She was leaning back in her chair with her lips apart, and
her eyes just showing through the half-closed lids. He saw that she had
heard nothing of what he had said, and he was glad of it.

The magistrate reached across the railing, and handed the commitment to
the constable.

“Farewell, father,” said Tom, “thee believes that I’m innocent; don’t
thee?”

“Yes; I do,” said his father, in a husky voice. Then he gave way to his
feelings, as no one had ever seen him do before—he laid both hands on
his son’s shoulders, and kissed him on the cheek.

“Farewell, John; farewell, William,” said he, reaching out his hands to
his brothers.

“Farewell, Thomas,” said John, clapping him upon the shoulder, and
trying to speak cheerfully; “thee’ll come out all right; I know thee
will!”

“I hope so,” said Tom.

“You’ll have to come along, now,” said the constable. Then they went
out again through the curious crowd, Johnson pushing a way through the
people for himself and his prisoner. They stepped into the gig, and
drove away to the gaol.



CHAPTER XVIII.


TOM GRANGER had been in Eastcaster gaol about an hour, when Will Gaines
came to see him.

Since the click of the lock that shut him in his cell as a murderer had
sounded in his ears, a calmness and a peace almost akin to happiness
had fallen upon his spirit. This may sound strange, but there are
periods, in times of trouble and grief, when the soul is relaxed from
its tension of pain, and quietude comes for the time being. Tom’s brain
was as clear as crystal, and he reviewed his position with a keenness
that surprised himself He saw that the evidence was strong against
him—damningly strong. As he walked up and down his cell, thinking over
all that the witnesses had said—and he seemed to remember every word—he
felt as though he were shut in by a wall of evidence that he could
never hope to break through. But, though realizing all this, he had
none of that anxiety regarding it, that it would have seemed natural
for him to feel; it was almost as though these things concerned another
person.

So he walked up and down his cell, going over all that had passed
in the squire’s office. Of a sudden, a flaw in a certain part of the
evidence struck him; it was but a small thing, but it was sufficient
to arouse a new thought within him. Then he stood quite still in
the middle of the cell, looking down upon the floor, and sunk in
meditation, for his mind was busy in following up point after point
of this thought, as a hound follows up the scent of game that it has
freshly started.

How long he stood there I do not know, but he was aroused at last by
the opening of the door of his cell, and Will Gaines came in to him.
Will did not say a word; neither did he look at Tom, but he flung his
hat and cloak despondingly upon the table.

“Sit down, Will,” said Tom, “take that chair; I’ll sit here on the edge
of the cot.”

“Thank’ee,” said Will, “I will sit down, if you don’t mind. I’m kind of
tired and fagged out.”

“How did you leave mother and Susan?” said Tom, after a moment or two
of silence had passed.

“Oh, pretty well. Of course, your mother is very troubled at what has
occurred, but, on the whole, she bears it better than I could have
hoped for. She believes that you’re innocent.”

“She’s right.”

Will heaved a sigh. “I hope she is,” said he.

“Thank’ee,” said Tom, a little grimly, and then the talk lapsed between
them again.

“Tom,” said Will, breaking the silence, “your father has engaged me to
act as your attorney in this matter. The Lord knows, I wish I had more
experience. I haven’t always worked as hard as I might have done, and
now, when it has fallen to my lot to have to defend the brother of the
girl that I hope to marry from a charge of murder, it seems likely that
I’ll have to pay a bitter price for all the time that I have wasted.
However, I’ll go to Philadelphia to-morrow and see Mr. Fargio, and get
him to take up your case. I’ve come to talk over the matter with you,
Tom.”

“Wait a minute, Will. I have a question to ask you, first. Do you
believe me guilty?”

Will Gaines looked fixedly out of the window of the cell, but he did
not answer. Tom smiled a little sadly.

“I think I know how you feel about it, without the asking, Will,” said
he. “Now, do you think that I’d have a man defend me who didn’t believe
that I was innocent?”

“Of course; you’d have to have some one to defend you.”

“I don’t see that. If I really was guilty of this thing, it seems to
me that I ought to be punished as the law calls for. However, that is
neither here nor there, for I hope to make you believe in my innocence
before you quit this cell.”

“I wish to Heaven you could,” said Will, but his tone was rather gloomy
than hopeful.

“Well, I’ll have a try at it. In the first place, I’ll have to ask you
whether you think that I’m the kind of man that would murder another in
cold blood?”

“Of course I don’t believe that,” said Will.

“You don’t think that I’m capable of lying in wait for Isaac Naylor,
and deliberately killing him—not in heat of passion, but with a cool
hand?”

“Certainly not. You don’t think that I’d believe such a thing of you as
that, do you?”

“Then, if I had killed him, I would have been in a rage, and hardly
conscious of what I was doing?”

“Yes.”

“In that case, I think that I can easily convince you that I didn’t do
it at all.”

“I wish you could,” said Will, again.

“Do you believe what I told you up home, about meeting Isaac Naylor,
and fighting with him?”

Will nodded his head.

“If I’d killed him at all, I would have killed him then, and in that
struggle, wouldn’t I?”

“Yes.”

“Very good. Now, Dr. Winterapple affirmed before the magistrate that
only one blow had been given, and that that blow was immediately behind
and under the right ear.”

Will was looking very earnestly at Tom. “I heard his evidence before
the coroner’s jury,” said he.

“Well, I’m right, ain’t I?”

“Yes.”

“Where are your wits, man? How could I strike him in the back part
of the head, and under the right ear, if I struck him while he was
fighting me off, as he must have been doing under the circumstances?
Look here; suppose you and I are facing one another, so—I have a club
in my hand to strike you with; I couldn’t possibly reach you to strike
you where Isaac received the blow that finished him. If I were to
strike you a blow in a moment of fury, it would be on the top or on
the left side of the head. It would be impossible to strike you on the
right side, without I were left handed.”

“Tom,” said Will, “I hadn’t thought of that—what a fool I have been.”

“Well, I suppose you didn’t think of it,” said Tom, “but I don’t see
that that makes a fool of you.”

“You’ve made a great point,” said Will; “I see now; of course you
couldn’t.”

“Wait a bit,” said Tom, “you’re going too fast, now. Any one, except
a friend, who wanted to believe in my innocence, would say that Isaac
might have broken away from me, and have run. If I’d struck him while
he was running away, I’d have given him just such a blow as killed him.”

“That’s true.”

“But, if he’d tried to run away from me, he’d have run in the beaten
track, and not in the grass and briars along the roadside. Now, he was
found lying in the grass just as he had fallen, and surely, it isn’t
likely that if I had struck him down in the middle of the road, I would
afterward have dragged him into the grass. My first instinct, after I
had done the deed, would be to run away, and leave him lying where he
was. He was sitting on the ‘big stone’ when he was struck, and he fell
forward just where Ephraim Whiteley found him.”

So Tom ended and stood looking at Will. Will said nothing at first, but
at last he spoke.

“Tom,” said he, drawing a deep breath, “I am more thankful to you than
I can tell; you have lifted a great load off my mind. I don’t think
that I ever fully believed that you were guilty of this thing, but, I
was afraid—I was afraid. The evidence was strong against you—you did
meet Isaac Naylor, according to your own confession, and you kept that
meeting secret from every one. You had just seen Patty, and had heard
all, and I know that you must have been half crazy with it. I believe
in your innocence now, but the circumstances were very strong against
you.”

“Yes; they were, Will,” said Tom; “you had good reason to suspect me;
nevertheless, I own freely, I felt kind of cut up when I saw what you
thought. Even this that I’ve just said to you, wouldn’t go for much,
only that you are ready and anxious to believe me. It wouldn’t weigh a
moment with a jury.”

“I’m not so sure of that.”

Tom made no answer to this last speech; he took a turn or two up and
down his cell, and then stopped suddenly in front of the other.

“You believe I’m innocent now, do you?”

“Yes.”

“Firmly?”

“Firmly.”

“And you won’t think that anything further that I may say to you’ll be
for the purpose of throwing the blame off my own shoulders and upon
those of another man?”

“No.”

“Then I believe I know who it was that did kill Isaac Naylor.”

“Who?” said Will, almost breathlessly.

Tom looked him in the eyes for a moment or two before he spoke.

“Edmund Moor,” said he, quietly.

For a time Will glared at him with wide-opened eyes and mouth. “Tom,”
said he, at last, in a low voice, “what makes you say such a thing as
that? What leads you to make so horrible an accusation against such a
man as Mr. Moor?”

“That horrible accusation was made against me.”

“But the circumstances were strong against you.”

“I think the circumstances are strong against him.”

“I don’t see it.”

Tom sat down on the edge of the table facing the other. “Look here,
Will;” said he, “suppose that a man bearing testimony against another
accused of murder should give evidence that was faulty in nearly every
point; wouldn’t your first thought be that he knew more of the real
story than he was inclined to tell, and that he was willing to let the
accused suffer for it?”

“Yes.”

“That’s what Mr. Moor did; you didn’t hear his evidence before the
magistrate, but I did, and what’s more, I remember every word of it.
This is what he said: That he was riding out the turnpike for pleasure,
and that he saw Isaac Naylor turn into Penrose’s road; that he stopped
his horse to water it at the shallow beside the bridge; that he saw me
run out of the mill road and up the turnpike, and that he did not know
who I was; that he heard no sound of any kind to make him suspect that
something was going wrong; that he thought nothing more about Isaac
Naylor, but went along the turnpike without looking up the road where
Isaac had gone. Now, Will, is there nothing that strikes you as strange
in all that?”

“Well, no; I can’t see anything strange in it. It sounds
straightforward enough to me.”

“It sounds straightforward enough, Will, but it won’t bear looking
into. When a man invents a story, it may seem to be reasonable enough,
but, you may depend upon it, it’s not sound in all it’s parts, and must
give way somewheres. The first thing that struck me as strange in this
was a small matter enough, but it set me to thinking. Mr. Moor’s horse
was standing in the shallow beside the bridge when I ran out into the
turnpike. Now, in thinking the matter over, it occurred to me that, if
I was out riding for pleasure, and my horse was fresh from the stable,
I wouldn’t stop within three quarters of a mile from home to water it;
would you?”

Will was gazing fixedly into Tom’s eyes; he made no answer to the
question, but he shook his head.

“That, as I say, was the first thing that struck me; it was a little
thing, but it set me athinking, and I began to wonder why Mr. Moor
should have stopped his horse. The day wasn’t warm enough to make it
any pleasure to drive through a shallow; one wouldn’t think of doing
such a thing on a cool autumn day. So I began turning things over and
over in my mind and, after a while, the whole story went to pieces,
like a card house when you take away one of the cards. Now, I think I
can prove to you from Mr. Moor’s own evidence before the magistrate,
that he was within three hundred yards of Isaac Naylor and me during
the whole time that we were together, and that he saw all that passed
between us. Mr. Moor said that he saw Isaac Naylor turn into the mill
road. To do that, he must have been pretty well down the hill or he
couldn’t have seen him for the trees; he couldn’t have been over five
hundred yards away from him, could he?”

Will shook his head.

“Now, Isaac Naylor walked about two or three hundred yards down the
mill road before he met me, and there’s where he was found the next
morning—killed. While he walked that three hundred yards, Mr. Moor, on
horseback, could easily have covered the five hundred yards between the
spot from where he saw him to the place where the mill road opens into
the turnpike, so that he could have come up to the opening of the road
just about the time that Isaac Naylor met me. Now,” said Tom, patting
the edge of the table upon which he was sitting to give force to that
which he was saying, “is it reasonable that I could have talked to
Isaac Naylor, have fought with him and have killed him, and then have
run the three hundred yards to the turnpike while Mr. Moor sat on his
horse watering it at the shallow? Is it reasonable, say?”

“No,” said Will, “it’s not.” He seemed half dazed with that which Tom
was telling him, but Tom saw that he was following him, and that was
all that he wanted.

“Now, here’s another point. According to this, he was within three
hundred yards of the scene of the murder at the very time that the
murder was being done, and yet, by his evidence, he didn’t hear a
single sound. Now, Isaac Naylor called for help while I was fighting
with him—and called twice, and yet Mr. Moor, though it is clear that he
was so near to us, heard nothing of it.”

Will rose from his chair and began walking excitedly up and down the
room. Tom watched him for a while in silence. “Have I made my meaning
clear to you?” said he, at last.

“Clear? Yes—yes; of course you’ve made it clear.”

“I’ve more to say yet,” said Tom, “and when you’ll sit down and listen
coolly, I’ll go on.”

Then Will sat down in his chair again without a word.

“Are you ready?”

“Yes.”

“Now, Mr. Moor said that when he had done watering his horse, he rode
on up the turnpike. The horse wasn’t drinking when I saw it. I ran on
up the road, but I stopped before I got to the crest of the hill, for
my breath gave out. I walked the rest of the way, which was about half
a mile, to the homestead. Now, I take it, a man on horseback could have
passed me, even if I’d run all the way. But Mr. Moor didn’t pass me,
and there was no sign of him when I turned into the lane; so he did
not ride on up the pike as he said he did. Neither did he turn back
home, for no man would turn back from a pleasure ride after he had gone
only three quarters of a mile. Will, how many roads are there between
Stonybrook bridge and father’s house?”

“Only one.”

“And that is—”

“Penrose’s road.”

“Will,” said Tom, leaning forward, looking into the other’s eyes and
speaking very slowly, “when I left Edmund Moor he rode up Penrose’s
road.”

“Tom! Tom!” cried Will Gaines, springing to his feet, “this is
incredible!”

“Incredible! Doesn’t it sound reasonable?”

“Yes, yes; only too reasonable!” Then he began walking up and down.
Suddenly he stopped in front of Tom. “Who would have thought,” said he,
“that such a quiet, dull-seeming fellow as you, Tom Granger, would
have thought out all this for yourself!”

“I don’t see anything wonderful in my thinking the matter out,
considering that my own life and the happiness of all belonging to me
are concerned in my thinking. But, I haven’t done yet. According to my
certain knowledge, Mr. Moor did not ride up the turnpike; therefore he
must have turned up Penrose’s road, for there was no other. Now, if I’d
killed Isaac Naylor, he’d found him lying there, even if he’d heard no
sound to make him suspect anything. If he’d found Isaac Naylor alive
and left him alive, one word from him would have been enough to have
cleared me. He said no word, therefore he wished the blame to rest upon
me; he wished the blame to rest upon me, therefore he had something
that he wished to hide. Without he was concerned in the affair he would
want to hide nothing. If he _was_ concerned in it, he was concerned in
it alone, for there was no one but him near enough to hear Isaac call
for help; if there had been they would have come. Yesterday afternoon,
when I came to Eastcaster in the stage, I saw Mr. Moor and Isaac Naylor
looking out of Moor’s office window; if nothing had happened since, I
don’t know that I would have thought anything of it, but, in looking
back now, I tell you that there was something wrong between them;
there was a look about them—the way in which they were standing, the
expression of their faces, that makes me feel that I am right in what
I say. When I ran out into the road after leaving Isaac Naylor, Mr.
Moor’s face was as white as wax, now—” here Tom paused abruptly and
began walking restlessly up and down the cell. After a while he stopped
and stood in the middle of the room. He looked out of the window and
not at Will when he spoke again.

“Will,” said he, solemnly, “I don’t know what has come over me; I don’t
know whether it’s the state of mind that I’m in or not, but I can
see the way that Isaac Naylor was killed—at least, I think I can—as
clearly as though I had second sight. God forgive me if I’m wrong, but
this is how I see it in my mind’s eye. I don’t know why Mr. Moor was
riding along the turnpike just at that time, but I believe that it was
to see and speak to Isaac Naylor again. However that may be, he _was_
riding along the pike, and came to the end of the mill road where
it opens upon the highway. There he saw Isaac talking to me and he
stopped, either because what he wanted to say to Isaac was to be said
in private, or because he knew me and wanted to see what would come of
our talk. He saw me attack Isaac and heard him call for help, but he
didn’t come to him because he’d hoped I’d kill him. That was why he was
so white when I saw him a minute or two later. When he saw me leave
Isaac Naylor and run up the road, he backed his horse into the water
so as to make it seem as though he was just giving it a drink. I don’t
believe that he would have any settled plan for doing this; it would
be his instinct to do it. When he saw that Isaac was about to escape
after all, he rode up to where he was sitting on the rock. Maybe they
exchanged a few words; maybe he just picked up the stake and struck
him where he sat, half dazed. I guess his mind must have been all in a
toss and ferment at what he had seen me about to do, and the thought
flashed through him, why shouldn’t he finish what he had seen me begin?
I would be the one suspected, for all the circumstances would point to
me, and I had come within a hair’s breadth of doing the deed myself.
After he had struck Isaac and saw him lying in the grass, he realized
what he had done, then he turned and mounted his horse and rode away. I
think that this is so, because there was only one blow given, and Dr.
Winterapple said in his evidence that he didn’t believe that it killed
him right away; if Moor had coolly intended to kill Isaac, he would
have made sure of it. This is my notion of what happened; of course, I
may be mistaken in it.”

Tom turned as he ended, and looked at Will; the other was gazing
intently at him.

At last Will spoke: “I—I follow your thoughts, Tom. It all sounds
reasonable enough, but I must have time to think it over. I—I can’t
believe it, somehow.”

“I don’t wonder at that,” said Tom, “beside, it’s only my own notion of
it. Some one did kill Isaac Naylor, and it is clear that he was killed
soon after I left him, for he never got to Elihu Penrose’s house, and
he was found dead just where I left him. It only remains now to find
out who it was. In my opinion, the most likely one to have done it was
Mr. Moor. We must set about finding out several things, and that I
depend on your doing.”

“I’ll do all that I can,” said Will.

“Very well, then; we’ll throw aside all that I’ve said, as to my notion
of how it was done, and set to work, with the point given that Mr. Moor
might have been the one that did the murder. The first thing to find
out, is whether he had cause for the act. If there was no cause, of
course, everything falls to the ground. Who is Isaac Naylor’s lawyer?”

“White & Tenny, I think.”

“Then the first thing to find, is whether Mr. Moor was tangled in some
business trouble with Isaac; can you do that?”

“I don’t know; I’ll try.”

“The next thing to find out, is whether Mr. Moor really was sick
yesterday morning. If he was not sick, he didn’t take a ride for his
health, and must have taken it on business. If he had any business, it
concerned Isaac Naylor, for he followed Isaac, and went no where else,
according to my notion. The third thing to do, is to find what time he
got back home yesterday afternoon, and what he did after he came home.
Each one of these things hangs on the other.”

Will sat in silence for a long time. At last he stood up. “Tom,” said
he, and his tones were serious, almost solemn, “as I said before,
all this is reasonable, and is wonderfully thought out I won’t say
off-hand that I think Mr. Moor did kill Isaac Naylor, but I’ll say
this,—I think he _might_ have done it. I’ll see what I can find out
from White & Tenny—that I can manage myself. As to Mr. Moor’s private
movements, we’ll have to put some one on the track of them that’s used
to hunting up evidence. When I was studying law with Mr. Fargio, in
Philadelphia, he had a fellow named Daly, whom he employed in the case
of Smithers _vs._ Black. He’s a clever hand at ferreting out this kind
of evidence, and I’ll get him to run down here and see what he can
make out of this. The only trouble with him, is that he drinks, but I
guess I can contrive to keep him sober till we’ve found out all we want
to know. And now I’ll have to leave you, Tom, for I must set about my
part of the business. Though it’s hard for me to believe that Mr. Moor
was concerned in this—I’ll say this, I _don’t_ believe that you did
it; you’ve convinced me that far. I’ll say, too, that your reasoning
against Moor is very strong.”

“If you’ll wait a minute, Will, I’ll drop a line to Patty, and get you
to take it to her,” said Tom. “Of course, you’ll keep secret all that’s
been said between us. You may tell the home folks, but don’t let it go
any further.”

“Of course, I won’t.”

Then, while Will walked up and down the floor of the cell, Tom sat down
and wrote his letter to Patty. He represented his case very much as
he had done to Will Gaines, and spoke cheerfully and hopefully of his
position.

He did not tell her anything about Mr. Moor; he felt that it would be
better not to do so, for her father might chance to see the letter, and
it behooved them to keep the matter as quiet as possible.

Then he folded the letter and gave it to Will, who left the cell
without a word, but with a firm grip of the hand at parting.



CHAPTER XIX.


IT was not until the next day at noon that Will Gaines came to see Tom
again; in the meantime, Tom’s father and his brother John had visited
him. They had a long talk together, and, when they left, they seemed
hopeful, and even cheerful. Will Gaines had told them of the suspicion
that Tom held against Mr. Moor. Tom repeated to them what he had said
the day before, and it seemed to them to be almost unanswerable.

When Will came in about noon, Tom saw, at once, that he was very much
excited. He flung himself down in the chair, and mopped his forehead
with his handkerchief.

“What’s the matter, Will?” said he, after waiting for a while, and
seeing that there was no immediate prospect of his friend breaking the
silence.

“Tom,” burst out Will, “if everything that you’ve thought out in this
case is as true as that which I have just heard, I’ll acknowledge that
you are a most wonderful reasoner.”

“What have you learned?”

“I’ve just seen Sheriff Mathers.”

“Well?”

“Well, to begin at the beginning, I went down to White & Tenny’s office
yesterday, but didn’t find either of them in. Their clerk was there,
and said that they wouldn’t be back till some time to-day. I was just
going down to their office a little while ago, when I met Sheriff
Mathers in front of the _Crown and Angel_. He stopped me and began
asking me about your case; or rather about Isaac Naylor’s death. I was
just on the point of leaving him, when he dropped out that it was a
lucky thing for some one in this town, that Isaac died when he did. You
may guess how this caught my ear, for there was a deal of meaning in
the sheriff’s tone. I began inquiring about the matter, but he didn’t
give me very much satisfaction; he said that this concerned another
party entirely, and hadn’t anything to do with the murder.

“‘Oh! it’s about Edmund Moor, is it?’ said I, as easily as I could
speak.

“‘How did you know that?’ said he; ‘What do you know about the
business?’

“Well, to make a long story short, after talking to him a good while, I
found that Isaac Naylor had held a judgment against Moor (for how much
I don’t know), and was about to put the sheriff on him. The judgment
was to be lodged in the sheriff’s hands the very day that Isaac was
killed. What do you think of that, Tom?”

There was silence for some time; Tom’s heart was thumping against his
ribs so that he could hardly breathe. However, he spoke as quietly as
he could. “I fancied that there must be something of the kind,” said he.

Will eyed him for a moment or two, “You seem to take it monstrously
cool,” said he, at last.

Tom made no answer to this speech; after a while he asked Will when
he was going to send for the man Daly, of whom he had spoken the day
before.

“I have sent for him,” said Will. “I wrote a note to Mr. Fargio
yesterday, and urged haste in it. I shouldn’t be surprised if Daly
would be here in to-morrow’s stage.”

Daly did come in the stage the next afternoon. It was about five
o’clock when the turnkey brought a man to Tom’s cell whom he had never
seen before. “Mr. Gaines told me to bring you this letter,” said the
man, handing Tom a note as he spoke; then Tom knew that it was Daly.

“Can’t you leave us a little while?” said Tom to the turnkey.

Will’s note ran thus:

    “DEAR TOM:

    “This is Daly of whom I spoke to you the other day. I
    thought better to introduce you to him thus than to come
    with him myself. You had better tell him everything
    concerning the case, just as you told me. I think you may
    trust him.

                                               “W. W. GAINES.”

Tom looked at Daly as he folded Will’s note. I cannot say that he took
very much fancy to the man. He was short, rather fat and bow-legged. He
had a large, heavy face, with a bluish growth of beard about the lips
and chin and cheeks. His head sat close upon his shoulders, and was
covered with a mat of close-cropped hair. He had a sly hang-dog look,
and anything but a pleasant expression. So Tom, sitting on the edge of
the table where he had been reading Will’s note, looked at Daly, and
Daly stood returning the look out of the corners of his eyes.

“So you’re John Daly, are you?” said Tom, at last.

“Yes.”

“Mr. Gaines says, in this note, that I may tell you everything.”

“Well, I think you’d better.”

“Sit down.”

“Thank’ee; got a spitpatoon here?”

“There’s one.”

After using the spittoon, the fellow pushed it over beside the chair
with his foot. Then he sat down comfortably. “Fire away,” said he.

“In the first place,” said Tom, “I’ll show you, as I did Mr. Gaines,
why, in my opinion, I couldn’t have killed this man.” Then he ran over
the evidence just as I have already done, showing, by the position of
the blow, that he could not have given it. Daly listened in silence,
every now and then nodding his head; but he did not speak a word until
Tom had ended. Then he looked up.

“Very true—very true, indeed,” said he. “It satisfies me an’ your other
friends; but it won’t go down with a jury, just now. Reckon you ha’n’t
seen the papers lately?”

“No.”

Daly nodded his head; “I guess your folks ha’ kept ’em from you,” he
said; “there’s nasty tales going about in ’em just now—tales about you
an’ your mate deserting a ship, an’ leaving the captain and the crew to
drown in her.”

“But,” said Tom, “I didn’t leave the ship with my own free will—I was
taken off by force.”

“That may all be very true; I don’t question your word at all—only this
is the report of the committee who examined you an’ your friend. You
ought to ha’ told ’em how you were taken off; you had the chance.”

“But I wasn’t going to tell ugly things against my mate, when he
wouldn’t tell of them himself.”

“That’s all very fine, but he ha’n’t in prison for murder.”

“I don’t see what this has to do with the matter, anyhow.”

“Don’t you? Well, I’ll tell you. When your case is before the jury, the
prosecuting attorney’ll tell ’em that any man who’ld run away from his
captain and his shipmates, and leave ’em to drown, wouldn’t hesitate
to strike a man from behind. Of course, it isn’t so, but the jury’ll
believe it all the same.”

Tom was silent; he saw the weight of what the man said, and his heart
sank within him. Daly sat, meditatively, chewing his tobacco. At last,
after expectorating copiously, he broke the silence.

“Never mind, sir,” said he; “I don’t believe that you killed that
feller; your argument’s good enough for me. I know too much about this
kind o’ thing to believe that you’re the sort of man to strike another
from behind. Mr. Gaines tells me that you’re on the track of the man
who did do it—let’s have your idee.”

Then Tom told of all the circumstances that led him to suspect Mr.
Moor, and once more Daly listened to him without a word. He sat with
his elbows on his knees; he had taken a dirty handkerchief out of his
hat, and was alternately crushing it together and unfolding it in his
hands. When Tom had ended, he looked up at him from under his brows.

“You’ve thought all that out in a mighty derned clever style,” said he.
“It’s all as true as gospil. I believe you’re right, and that this man
Moor did kill the other feller.”

“I couldn’t make Mr. Gaines believe it as you do,” said Tom.

“Of course, you couldn’t. Mr. Gaines knows this Moor, and always has
known him. It’s hard to believe that a man that you’ve seen under your
eye every day would do a thing like this. I don’t know anything about
him, and I can look at it reasonable like. I believe he did do it.
The next thing is to ketch him, and that ain’t goin’ to be so easy,
neither, for, without I’m much mistook, he’s as sharp as a steel trap.
Never mind, he’ll have to get up early in the morning if he’s going to
get ahead of ‘Fatty’ Daly, I can tell you.”

After this he took up his hat and quitted the gaol, and Tom was left
alone again.

Two or three days passed before there were any more developments. Will
kept Tom well posted as to the agent’s movements, but nothing of any
note happened.

The first thing that Daly did was to become acquainted with Mr. Moor’s
help, who, being rather old and not over-handsome, was glad for any
young man to come courting her—even such an one as Daly. However, the
agent was cautious, and nothing was found out for two or three days.

On the morning of the third day after Daly had come to Eastcaster, Will
came into Tom’s cell in a great state of hurry and excitement. Daly had
found something that he thought was of great moment.

“I want you to tell me your idea of the matter before I give you
Daly’s,” said he. “The fellow seems to have a great notion of your
ability and told me to find what your opinion was and see whether his
agreed with it.” Then he handed Tom a sheet or two of paper, covered
with a crooked, blotted scrawl. It was Daly’s report; it ran thus:

    “Last evening went to Mr. Moor’s house to see his servant
    girl Susan. Up to that time had not said anything about
    murder, but then began to talk about it. Began by asking
    how Mr. Moor was, and said that I was sorry to hear he was
    sick. Girl said that he had not been well for three or four
    days. She said that he was very sick the morning that he was
    at squire’s office, and that he came home and laid down on
    the sofa that morning and laid there almost all day. Asked
    her if he had been sick the day before, and she said not
    until evening when _he came home sick from a ride that he
    took_. Began questioning her about this and got all from
    her without her suspecting anything, I think. Said that he
    came home after dark and went straight to his room. Heard
    him walking up and down for some time. Supper was ready
    before he came in. He came in at half-past six, for she
    looked at clock when she heard him open front door. Came
    down stairs in a half an hour, and she went out to tell
    him that supper was ready. He spoke sharply to her, and
    said that he did not want any supper. He turned at the door
    and spoke more quietly. Said, on second thoughts, that she
    might save supper for him. He had a carpet-bag in his hand
    and a hat on at the time. He said that there were papers in
    the carpet-bag, and that he was going to see a Mr. Henry
    Sharpley on business. He came back in half an hour, with
    mud on his shoes, which left tracks in the entry. He went
    out just about seven o’clock, and came back at half-past
    seven. Questioned servant girl closely as dared as to time.
    Said that she noticed time, because she was keeping supper
    waiting for Mr. Moor. When he came in, drank two cups of
    coffee, but did not touch any supper.”

Such was Daly’s report. After Tom had read it, he folded it up, and sat
for a while thinking deeply. Presently he looked at Will. “Will,” said
he, “I believe I know what Daly thinks.”

“What?”

“That Mr. Moor had blood on his clothes, and went out to hide them.”

“That’s just what he does think, Tom.”

“And I believe that he’s right; Mr. Moor certainly had something to
hide, and it could have been nothing, without it was evidence. All
that Daly gathered from the servant girl goes to show that there was
something of the kind. I believe that Mr. Moor would have gone straight
home after he had done the deed, if he had dared to do so, and he
would have dared, without he had some signs of what he had done upon
him. What signs of the deed could he have had about him, if it was not
blood spattered on his clothes? Now, if we can find that he has hidden
any of his clothes in some out-of-the-way place, we’ll have a great
point gained, won’t we?”

“We will, indeed.”

“Has Daly any notion of where they were hidden?”

“No.”

“Have you?”

“Not I.”

“What’s Daly going to do about it?”

“His idea is to hunt in all the likely places near at hand on the
chance of finding them. He says that they can’t be far away, because
Mr. Moor was such a short time gone; only half an hour.”

“That’s very true, but, without he has something to guide him in his
search, it’ll be like hunting for a needle in a hay-stack.”

“Have you any notion about it, Tom?”

“Not yet,” said Tom; “let me think.” He buried his face in his hands,
and sat for a long time without moving. At last, he opened the note
that Daly had sent him, and looked at it again. Presently he spoke:

“Now, Will, let’s start from the time that he was supposed to have
struck the blow, and let’s trace him as well as we can. After he had
struck Isaac down, and saw that he had killed him, and also saw that
there were signs upon him what might point to his having done the deed,
he wouldn’t go out either into the turnpike or the mill road, for he
would be afraid of some one meeting him. He would go into the woods,
and would hide there until dark. He must have suffered horribly in
the woods at night, with the thought of what he had done fresh upon
his heart—of course, it would unfit him for any cool and collected
thinking, and therefore we have an advantage over him. At last he comes
home. Try to put yourself in his place, and conceive of the terrible
state of mind that he must have been in at the time. There would be
blood upon his clothes, and his first thought would be to get rid of
them as soon as possible. If he had been cool, he would have waited
until the next day, but he did not think of any such thing at the time.
‘Where shall I hide them?’ he would say to himself; ‘not at home, not
about the house, for who knows how soon they may be found?’ Then he
would go over a number of places in his mind. He would not be collected
enough to think of some out-of-the-way spot; he would think of some
place that he had seen before, and that would be remarkable enough for
him to remember it, even at such a moment. Now, let’s see what he did,
according to that which the servant girl told Daly. He doesn’t see the
servant girl when he first comes into the house, but, after he had
stuffed his clothes into a carpet-bag, and had come down stairs again,
he meets her face to face, and shows very plainly how much the sight of
her has disturbed him. He tells her sharply enough for her to remember
that he don’t want any supper. The next minute the thought comes to
him that she’ll think his actions very strange, so he turns around and
gives her an explanation of his movements, such as he would never think
of doing in an ordinary case. He tells her that he is going to _Henry
Sharpley’s_, on business. Without I’m mistaken, he made a blunder there
that will give help to us. So far we can follow him tolerably well.
Now, we have a gape of half an hour, and that gape we’ve got to fill
up.”

“That’s just it,” said Will.

“We’ll leave that now, and see what he did after he came home. The girl
was a very careful housekeeper, for she noticed that he had mud on his
shoes, and that he left tracks in the house. She wouldn’t have noticed
that without she had an eye to keeping things clean. He told her to
save supper for him, and yet he ate nothing. That, I think, is all that
we really know.”

“That’s all.”

“And now, to fill up the gape of half an hour—Have you had any rain
lately?”

“Well—let me see. No; there’s been none for over a week.”

“Well, that’s a great point gained, for the roads must be very dusty.”

“They are.”

“Then, how could Mr. Moor have mud on his shoes in going to Henry
Sharpley’s house and back again? His shoes might have been dusty, but
they couldn’t have been muddy. He must have been in some wet or marshy
place to get mud on him.”

“That’s so.”

“Well, that’s one point gained. Now, let’s see how much the servant
girl can be relied upon as to the length of time that he was gone. She
said that he left at seven o’clock and came back at half-past seven.
The time was impressed upon her mind because she was keeping supper
waiting for him. She was a careful housekeeper, as we’ve seen, so, no
doubt, she kept a watch on the clock while she was keeping the victuals
and dishes warm. I think we may take it for granted that she was pretty
nearly right as regards the time. He was gone half an hour, therefore
he was not more than a quarter of an hour’s walk from home—a mile,
let’s say. I think we may say that he went straight to the place where
he hid his clothes, and that he came straight home again after he had
hidden them; it would be the natural thing for him to do. So we may
feel tolerably sure that he didn’t go more, and not much less, than a
mile from home.”

Here Tom stopped, and sat for a long time buried in thought. Will did
not say anything, but waited for him to begin again. At last Tom broke
the silence.

“Now,” said he, “it would be a hard thing for us to follow Moor with
only the mud on his shoes as a clue to guide us, but to my thinking he
himself gave us a better hint than this, by one word too much that he
spoke. He told the help girl that he was going to see Henry Sharpley,
and this he told her on the spur of the moment, with hardly a second
thought. It isn’t likely that he would have mentioned Henry Sharpley’s
name without Henry was in his mind at the time. If this wasn’t so, why
should he mention that special name? Now, he was either going to see
Henry, as he said, or he was going in the direction where he knew Henry
was to be found.

“He did not go to see Henry, because it would have taken more than
half an hour to talk over business concerning a whole carpet-bag full
of papers, so I think we may take it for granted that he went in the
direction of Henry Sharpley’s house. Now, if we can find that his
actions fit perfectly with this idea, we can feel pretty certain that
we are right. Let’s try to think how we would do if we were in Mr.
Moor’s place. Let’s say that I’m going to hide these clothes. I have
thought of a place not very far distant. That place is out of town, but
not far. I quit the town just beyond Henry Sharpley’s house. I say to
myself, if I can slip out quietly and hide these things, I’ll be back
in a little while, and I’ll just mention that I went out on a little
matter of business. I go down stairs with this on my mind, and come
suddenly face to face with the help. She catches me in the act of going
out of the house with the carpet-bag in my hand. What will she think of
it? She says something about supper—a little thing to speak of in my
present state of mind. Without thinking, I speak sharply to her. The
next minute it strikes me that her suspicions will be increased by the
strangeness of my speech and actions. I am anxious to set myself right
with her, and, not knowing of anything better to say at the moment,
I tell her what I had already planned to do—that I was going out on
business. In the flurry of the moment I say one word too much. I am
going in the direction of Henry Sharpley’s house; my mind is full of
where I am going; so, without a second thought, I tell her that I am
going to see _Henry Sharpley_ on business. Then it flashes across me
that the girl will wonder what I am doing with my carpet-bag at that
time of the night. I can think of no other explanation to give than
that it is full of papers. Does all that sound reasonable?”

Will drew a deep breath. “Reasonable?” said he; “of course it sounds
reasonable.”

“Of course, I may be all at sea in what I fancy. At the same I _may_
be right, and it’s worth having a try for. Now, we’ll take for granted
that Mr. Moor did go down Beaver street toward Sharpley’s house. Of
course, he wouldn’t go out aimlessly into the night; he had some place
already fixed in his mind where to hide his clothes, and he went
straight to that place with as few steps aside as possible. Now, it
would seem at first as though he had thought of some place to hide his
clothes near Sharpley’s house or the blacksmith shop opposite; but two
reasons stand in the way of this. In the first place, his mind would be
in too much confusion to think deliberately of any cunning plan. If he
had waited until the next day, it might have been different. I think he
had a place fixed in his mind when he came home; he certainly doesn’t
seem to have spent much time in laying plans. In the second place, he
was gone half an hour. It wouldn’t have taken him five minutes to walk
to Sharpley’s and back, and I don’t believe he would tarry anywhere in
the dark after he had hidden his clothes. Beside all this, he told the
servant girl that he would _be back inside of an hour_. He told her
this at the moment of meeting her, and it isn’t likely that he would
have said it if he hadn’t a longish distance in his mind at the time.
He would have to walk along the street while he was in town, for he
wouldn’t go cutting across people’s gardens and climbing fences. So he
wouldn’t leave the sidewalk till he had come to Sharpley’s house or
the blacksmith shop, which are the last houses before you come to open
lots. As soon as he was out of town, he would strike a straight line
for the place that he had in his mind—and now, let’s see how far he
went.

“We’ll say it took him three minutes to walk to Sharpley’s house; that
leaves twelve minutes of the quarter of an hour. Say it took him four
minutes to hide his clothes when he had come to the spot that he had in
his mind. The half of four is two; that leaves ten minutes for him to
walk after he had left the town. If he’d kept to the road he might have
walked three quarters of a mile in that time; but he didn’t do that,
for he got his shoes muddy somewhere. Beside, it isn’t likely that he
would walk along the highroad at night with a carpet bag in his hand.
It’ld look mighty strange to any one who’d meet him. If he had to walk
across lots and climb fences, he couldn’t have covered over half a mile
in ten minutes; nor is it likely he would walk less than a quarter of a
mile. Now, imagine a pair of big compasses. Open them till they measure
a half a mile from point to point; put one point of them on the road
between the blacksmith shop and Sharpley’s house and draw a circle. Now
draw another circle of a quarter of a mile from point to point. You now
have a belt a quarter of a mile wide running in a circle a quarter of a
mile distant from the blacksmith shop. If I’ve argued the matter right,
you’ll find his clothes hidden somewhere in that belt.”

Will heaved a deep sigh. “Tom,” said he, “you ought to be the lawyer,
and I the accused. You’d make a better fist out of my case than I’ll
ever be able to do out of yours. I’ll put Daly on the track right away,
and see what he makes of it.”

“Hold hard, Will,” said Tom; “as we’ve gone this far, we might as well
see whether we can’t go a little farther. Let’s see in what kind of a
place Mr. Moor would be likely to hide those clothes. He’d think of
only very simple plans in his state of mind, I take it. He might bury
them, or burn them, or sink them in the water somewhere. He didn’t
bury them, for he took no tools with him, and he couldn’t very well
have done it without. Woolen clothes, such as a man wears at this
time of the year, don’t burn very easily, and he’d have to go a long
distance before he dared build a fire, and, beside, he hadn’t time to
do it in the half of an hour that he was gone. Of the three the most
likely thing for him to do would be to throw his clothes in the water.
Another point is that his shoes were muddy, and so he must have been
where it was wet. We have seen that the place he hid his clothes was
about a half a mile out of town, and that it was a place such as would
occur to him at this time.” Tom stopped abruptly, and rose to his feet.
“Will,” cried he, “can’t you guess where he sunk his clothes?”

“Tom—you—you mean the old quarry, don’t you?”

Tom nodded his head. Will sat looking at him for a time, without
speaking.

“Will,” said Tom, presently, “that place was in my mind almost from the
very first. I wasn’t arguing to find it, but to prove to myself that I
was right. Now, the whole thing amounts to this—if we drag the quarry,
and find the clothes there, I’ve made a good guess.”

“You have, indeed—a good enough guess to get your neck out of the
halter. I’ll say nothing more; only this—I didn’t think that you had so
much in you!”



CHAPTER XX.


AND now I find the story of Tom Granger’s adventures drawing rapidly
to a close. I have sometimes wondered whether all happenings, such as
are usually allotted to a man’s life, were not crowded into this one
year and a half, for since that time it has been even and uneventful,
excepting as to such small things as occur in our quiet Quaker
neighborhood.

But, these adventures were not to close without one more thing
happening that made a stir; not only in Eastcaster, but throughout the
whole country. No doubt, if you were to pick up a newspaper of the fall
and winter of that year, no matter where that paper was printed, you
would see some mention made of all these things.

However, I have nothing to do with that; I have only to tell my own
story, or the balance of it as quickly as possible, for it has grown to
a huge length beneath my hands as I have worked upon it, so much, so
that I fear few will have patience to read it through to the end.

I think that it was about noon of the next day that a note was brought
to Tom. It was in Will’s handwriting, and was only of one line. This
is what it said:

    “Dragged the quarry this morning. Clothes found.

                                                 “W. W. G.”

Heretofore, Tom had been surprised at his own endurance. I think that
he was braced more tensely than he had any idea of, and that now came
the reaction that is sure to follow overtaxing of the powers. After
he had read the note, and had seen how truly his surmises had been
fulfilled, he grew weak and nervous. Every now and then a spell of
trembling would pass over him, and at last he flung himself down upon
the cot, and buried his face in the pillow. “I’d better have died! I’d
better have died!” he kept repeating to himself; for, it seemed to him,
as though his coming to Eastcaster had brought misery upon every one
with whom he had to do. But for him Isaac would have been alive at this
time, and Mr. Moor would never have had the burthen of such a great
crime upon his soul. At last he fell into a nervous sleep, though, in
truth, he scarcely knew whether it was sleep or not, for he seemed to
be conscious of everything that was around him. Between twelve and one
o’clock his course prison fare was brought in to him. He heard the
turnkey open the door, lay the platter of victuals on the table, and
then go out again, but he heard it as though it were all a part of the
troubled dreams that were upon him. Through his half sleep he heard the
court-house bell strike one, and two, and three and four o’clock, and
still he lay there. Suddenly there were footsteps in the corridor, a
rattle of the key in the lock, and then some one burst into the room.
Tom roused himself and sat up—it was Will Gaines. Tom began to tremble,
for there was a very strange look in Will’s face. He flung himself down
on the chair, and wiped his brow, which was wet with sweat.

“Tom,” said he, at last, in a low, solemn voice, “what do you think’s
happened?”

Tom sprang to his feet, and held out both hands, as though to defend
himself. “Oh, Will, Will!” cried he, hoarsely; “don’t tell me any more!
I can’t bear any more!”

“But you must hear this,” said Will.

Tom sat down upon his cot again. “Well,” said he, at last, in a dull
voice; “tell me, if you must.”

“Edmund Moor has committed suicide.”

Tom looked fixedly at Will, and it seemed as though he was a long
distance away. The room appeared to lengthen out on all sides of him.
Then there was a sound of rushing and roaring in his ears, and a dark
cloud seemed to rise and shut in everything from his sight. He heard
Will’s voice calling to him, as though from afar—“Tom, Tom, are you
sick?”

He tried to shape the words, but it seemed as though his lips had no
power to move. He felt Will’s arms around him; there was a humming in
his ears, and a tingling at his finger tips, and then the dark cloud
passed away, and he saw everything.

“I’m better now,” said he, and then he sat up. Will was standing in
front of him, holding a tumbler of water. He reached out and took the
glass, and drained it at a swallow, and it seemed to bring fresh life
to him.

“I guess I’d better not tell you any more,” said Will.

“No, I’ll hear all now,” said Tom; “the worst’s over.” Then, after a
pause, “When did it happen?”

“About a couple of hours ago.”

“Did he—did he—” Tom stopped and looked at Will.

“He left a confession,” said Will.

“Tell me all about it,” said Tom.

“Well, by noon I had got together all the evidence I had at hand, and
about one o’clock I went up to swear out a warrant for Moor’s arrest,
at the squire’s. The squire wasn’t in, and I waited about half an
hour. Then I slipped down to the office, to see what had become of
Daly. He had promised to come up to the squire’s and meet me at one
o’clock, and here it was half-past one, and no signs of him. He had
left me at half-past twelve, saying that he was going to get dinner,
and that he would come over as soon as he had done. I was afraid that
something was wrong, for I had a notion that he had been drinking this
morning. However, I thought it just possible that he might be at the
office. But there was no signs of him, so I went out again and stood
on the sidewalk, looking for him up and down the street. Who should
come along, but Mr. Moor. He stopped, and began talking to me, and I
couldn’t help thinking that he suspected something, though, of course,
he didn’t. I can’t tell you how I felt, Tom, to have that fellow
talking to me about little trivial things, joking all the time, as he
was given to doing. I don’t know how I answered, but I guess that it
was all at random. Just then I saw Daly come out of the _Crown and
Angel_, across the street. He staggered as he came down the steps,
and stood on the sidewalk, looking all around him. I saw that he was
as drunk as a lord, and was afraid that nothing could be done at the
squire’s that day. As luck would have it, he caught sight of Mr. Moor
talking to me, and he came right across the street to where we were,
staggering like a brute. As soon as he came to us he caught hold of
Mr. Moor’s hand and began shaking it. Mr. Moor tried to pass it off
as a joke, for he saw how drunk the fellow was. But I was on pins and
needles all the time, I can tell you.

“‘What do you mean, sir?’ said I; ‘go into the office.’

“‘You be d—d!’ was all that the fellow said to me. Then he turned to
Moor. ‘Mr. Moor,’ says he, ‘you’re a good feller—a good feller! I’m d—d
sorry for what you did, for you’re a good feller. I know all about it
(here he winked), but, between you and me, I don’t care a d—n.’

“There wasn’t a shade of color in Moor’s face. ‘What do you mean, you
scoundrel?’ said he.

“Daly straightened himself up with all the dignity that he could
manage. ‘Scoundrel, eh?’ said he. ‘Oh! all right! I’m a scoundrel, am
I? We’ll fix you for that; won’t we, Mr. Gaines? I reckon you thought
no one’ld find them old clo’s o’ yourn, didn’t you?’

“I never saw such a look come over any man’s face in all my life,
as came over Moor’s. He went staggering back, as though he had been
shot. I turned on the scoundrel, hardly knowing what I did, I was in
such a towering rage. I left fly at him, and knocked him nearly into
the middle of the street. He jumped up and ran at me, swearing like a
soldier, and as soon as he had come within distance, I left fly another
blow, and down he went again, for he was too drunk to guard himself. By
this time a crowd had gathered, running from all directions. Some of
them caught hold of Daly and held him, and he stood there cursing and
swearing as I never heard a man curse and swear before. When I had time
to look around again, I saw that Moor had gone. I asked Jerry White,
who was standing near,—if he had seen him, and he said yes; that he
had caught sight of him running down Market street, as though he was
going home. By this time there was a crowd around me, all wanting to
know what was the matter, and I told them in as few words as I could. A
lot of them ran down to Beaver street, which suited me very well, for
they would keep Moor in sight if he were to try to get away. Daly was
washing the blood from his face in the trough before the _Crown and
Angel_, and what with the licking and the pump water, he was pretty
sober by this time. He was very sorry at what had happened, and didn’t
seem to bear me any grudge. I waited till he had made himself as
decent looking as he could, and then went up to the squire’s with him,
though he had a bad eye where I had struck him. We found the squire,
and he gave me the warrant against Moor. I had a hard time to find the
sheriff, but I got him at last. This was about two o’clock.

“He and I went down to Beaver street together. There was a great crowd
around Moor’s house by this time, and the house itself was shut up as
though no one was in it. The sheriff tried the office door, but found
it locked. Then he went to the house door, and knocked a long while
before he could get any answer, but at last the servant girl came. She
seemed very much frightened at all the crowd and excitement, but she
told us that Mr. Moor had come in about half an hour before, and had
not gone out again. The sheriff told her that he had a warrant for Mr.
Moor’s arrest, and asked her to show him into the office. The servant
led us across the parlor to the door that opens into the office from
the house.

“The sheriff knocked at the door, calling; ‘Mr. Moor! Mr. Moor! You
might as well let us in! If you don’t let us in, I’ll have to force the
door!’ But no one answered him. By that time the parlor was pretty full
of men, who had followed us in from the street. Sheriff Mathers shook
at the door, and knocked for some time, calling to Moor to open it,
but getting no answer. After a while, he peeped through the key hole.
I asked him whether he could see anything of Moor; he said yes—he was
standing in the corner. Then I advised him to force the door, and he
did so, putting his shoulder to it. He had to push pretty hard, so that
when the door broke open, he ran into the room, nearly falling down.
He gave a cry and ran out against Johnny Black, who was just going
in. I didn’t go into the room, but I could see over Black’s shoulder
that Moor was hanging from a rope that was tied to a large hook in
the corner of the room. He left a few lines lying on his office desk,
confessing that it was he who murdered Isaac Naylor, and that he was
tired of the misery of living. I can’t remember them exactly, but they
were read before the coroner’s jury.

“As soon as I saw how matters had turned out, I hunted up Judge West.
He went down with me to the squire’s, without losing a moment, for he
said that no innocent man should be kept in gaol longer than need be.
It took about an hour to get the needful witnesses together. As soon as
the matter was settled the judge gave the release, and—”

Here Will stopped abruptly. He stood listening, and presently Tom heard
a scuffling of feet out in the corridor. The door was opened, and his
father and his brothers, John and William, came into the cell.

“Are you ready now?” said Will.

“Yes,” said Tom’s father; “I borrowed Philip Winterapple’s gig. It’s
waiting at the door.”

“Are you ready to go, Tom?”

“Ready to go where?” said Tom, looking about him in a dazed way.

“Ready to go home.”

In this simple manner, and with these few words was his bitter trouble
brought to a close.

Well, that is all the yarn concerning Tom Granger that need be told.
The troubles that had followed him in the year and a half past had been
bitter indeed, but they had all gone by now. I am not going to tell you
how he married, and how he lived happily, and all that sort of matter.
Surely, such a home as I see around me, and such a crowd of loving
faces as gather about me at times, children, grand-children, and three
great-grand-children, bespeak a life not all unhappy of its kind.

Even yet, beside me is that one whose face, always sweet, now shines
with a light that comes not of this life, but of the life beyond. I do
thank the Giver of all good things that He has permitted us to walk the
path of life hand-in-hand together for this long time. A day or two
now, and one of us may go—I care not which it be, for the other will
not be long in tarrying.

What matters then all these troubles of which I have been telling you!
Such troubles, bitter and keen at the time, are but as a breath on the
glass of life, that fade away, and are gone long before that glass
itself is shivered.

So, as I say, these sorrows and griefs that were once so bitter to me,
stir me not at this day, saving now and then, while, as I sat writing
these lines, a chord of memory did ring occasionally to the touch. Yes;
all is gone by—happiness and grief, joy and suffering, and I am like a
ship, one time battered and buffeted with the bitter storms of trouble
and despair, but now, full freighted with my cargo of years, safe at
anchor in my peaceful haven _Within the Capes_.


    THE END.



MRS. BURNETT’S NOVELS AND STORIES

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    =Earlier Stories.= First and Second Series. Each         1.25

    =The One I Knew the Best Of All.= A Memory of the
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    =The Pretty Sister of José.= Illustrated                 1.00


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Transcriber’s Notes:

Obvious punctuation errors repaired. Varied hyphenation was retained
including Stony-Brook and Stonybrook.

Page 91, “your” changed to “you’re” (you’re not to lord)

Page 106, “Bale” changed to “Bail” (Bail her out smartly)

Page 235, “be” changed to “he” (he backed his horse)

Page 267, “Gra e” changed to “Grace” (His Grace of Osmonde)





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